“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…” Romans 14:17 NIV 

Believers tend to think of joy as an emotion that we feel or should feel all the time, especially when things are not going well. We are encouraged to hold on to the truth that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The Hebrew word for strength actually means “a place of safety, a fortress, protection”. Joy is God’s protection against… what? Emotions don’t give us protection. They only tell us what our state of mind is.

I think, therefore, that we should look at joy from another angle, i.e., not as an emotion but as an attitude, especially as we are exploring the powers of the kingdom that God has provided for us to overcome the world.

If God’s peace is His protection against the anxieties and fears our present circumstances produce, joy is prophetic of the outcome of our future.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2 NLT

To understand the meaning and power of joy in our lives, we must look at the power of joy in Jesus’ life. Jesus was the most joyful man who ever lived.

“You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” Hebrews 1:9 NLT

What was the reason for Jesus’ joy? Isaiah saw Him prophetically as “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isa. 53:3 – NLT).

How could two such powerful emotions be present on one person?

The answer is the cross.

Despite His overriding joy, Jesus felt the agony of impending suffering for the sin of the world.

“He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” Luke 22:44 NLT

He felt the pain of His people who would have to face the horrors of Roman invasion and the cruelty of war because they had rejected Him.

“But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.”Luke 19:41-42 NLT

He wept over Mary’s disappointment and disillusionment because she didn’t understand what He was about to reveal.

‘When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled… Then Jesus wept.” John 11:33, 35 NLT

As real as the sorrow Jesus felt for the self-inflicted suffering of His people because they failed to understand who He was and why He had come, and the agony of His own suffering, His overriding attitude to life was pure joy.

All His sorrow would be swallowed up in one great event – the cross.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

It was the outcome of His sorrow and suffering that produced the joy that kept Jesus going to the end. Our salvation was His goal and He did it because He never gave up.

“When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”Isaiah 53:11 NLT

It is true that there are many experiences in life that produce a surge of joy in us… falling in love, marrying the one we love, carrying our first child, successes and achievements and many more, but these are earthly and temporary.

The true joy that will sustain us through every bad experience is the anticipation of our future.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while…. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6, 8-9 NLT

In a world of people who have no hope, we have the power of Jesus’s joy to sustain us through every trial and bad experience because we are convinced of God’s promise…

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

Therefore, when we choose to maintain an attitude of joy, we have a powerful weapon against Satan’s attempts to drag us into depression and hopelessness when we confront present circumstances.

Confidence in God’s promises enables us to persevere with joy, no matter what, and we can rejoice because we know that our future is secure.

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12 NLT


All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.





Categories: Christian Life Tags: , ,

Luella Campbell

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