Copyright © 2007 by Robert Woeger.
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Publisher: Robert Woeger
This Christian writing deals with the benefits of joy in the believer's life.
All Scripture references in this writing are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
U.S. Copyright Office Registration Number TX0006605777. Registered on 06/22/2007.
Life Is A Quest For Joy
Who would argue with you that one should have joy in their life? In fact, joy is one of those things, like air and water, that everybody really needs to live. Oh, you can get by without joy for a season, but you will probably be unhappy, miserable and maybe even depressed. Depriving yourself or a loved one of joy is a huge mistake.
I have known many people who have lived a substantial portion of their lives with no real, true joy at work in their lives. Believe me, you wouldn't want to be around these kinds of people, as their "lack of joy" is infectious. It will try to "rub off" on you, wear you down, and cloud your normal, otherwise happy, mental state.
This writing will help you to examine yourself, and others around you, for potential problems in the "joy area." Once you know where the "joy problems" are, you can initiate change in your life, so that you may go on to live the healthiest life possible, full of happiness, peace and victory.
Whatever your place in life, no matter how hectic or busy your life is, you have no excuse to ignore seeking after joy. You deserve it and you are worth it! It is beneficial, healthy and correct to seek after joy. No more excuses. You won't regret seeking after joy! Read on to discover why.
What Is Joy?
Joy is more than a feeling. It is a state of your mind, body and spirit. It is the result of completeness in overcoming obstacles that would otherwise weigh you down.
Joy is the reward for victory that can easily be observed by others! You can easily tell who is victorious in their life by whether people have joy or not. Joy can be be read by others so easily, yet it took me so many years to comprehend this fact. Yes, I knew I didn't want to be around people who didn't exhibit joy, but I didn't understand all of the reasons why.
No person wants to be intentionally around weakness. Something (or someone) is "out of order" when they are weak. It is not normal for something or someone to be weak. A weak pipe or connection joint will likely burst at any time and cause damage to your home or office. Likewise, a weak person can "break at any time" and cause all manner of evil and problems to be thrust upon those around them.
Joy, on the other hand, exudes peace and strength. When someone experiences joy, they tend to care less about problems and the world around them. Things that formerly might have bothered them seem to "melt away." Problems no longer appear to have a grip on them. Joy focuses attention on positive, good things, as opposed to the lack of joy, which brings all manner of bad things into a person's life.
Joy is beneficial and is desirable. It is worthy to be sought after.
Where We Find Joy
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11.
The Bible is clear that the only place we can find true joy is in God's Presence.
We must qualify to be in the Presence Of God. That is why joy is given as a reward for victory by God. He wants us to overcome the snares and obstacles this life presents us with, and enter into His place of rest and victory, with the end result being joy.
Joy is a protection and a strength. The Bible states "...for the joy of the LORD is your strength." in Nehemiah 8:10. Joy serves to encapsulate us with protection and insulate us from the cares of the world. It is a reward to the overcomer.
Joy is the reward for victory over fear, depression and all manners of sin.
God desires fellowship with us, but He also wants us to come before Him with clean hands, and a pure heart. We must rejoice and worship Him. In return, He will reward us with joy and entry into His Presence. The ultimate gift of our remaining faithful to God, is being invited to spend eternity with Him.
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation." Psalm 24:3-5.
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." Psalm 100:4.
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." Psalm 98:4.
"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:21 (see also confirming verse 23).
The Importance Of Joy
Joy not only serves to demonstrate to others our victory over various things, but also shows our relationship and right standing with God. Joy is essential to help us conquer problems we face in life.
The Scripture is clear that if God is for us, who can be against us? The key is to make sure God is for us, and to know for sure, we need a relationship with Him. He demands obedience from us to His ways and instructions. Our goal should be to please God by our lives.
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31.
What better thing is there than to know, that no matter what we are going through, He will be there for us? The peace, comfort and joy knowing that God is with us transcends whatever we might be dealing with at a given moment.
Walking in a state of perpetual joy and overcoming victory makes the journey seem shorter and the load feel lighter. May you experience the joy of the Lord in your life!
Giving Yourself Permission To Experience Joy
Too often people deny themselves permission to experience joy in their lives. For whatever reason, they may feel unworthy of God's love or receiving the joy that obedience to Him will bring. If you are having problems receiving joy, ask God for help and He will surely answer you.
When you yield to worship God with your songs, words and actions, you are demonstrating your dependence upon Him and acknowledging His Lordship over your life. As you open up to Him, you are giving Him permission to fill you with joy.
There is no greater feeling and state of being that I know, than being in His Presence and experiencing His joy! Let us bless the Lord, and forget not all His benefits.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:2-5.
Did you know that joy serves as a witness to others of the promises and love of God? What He did for you, He can do for others as well. His joy should not be limited, but rather should be unleashed upon whosoever will receive and follow after Him.
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-27.
Ask and receive so that your joy may be full. Jesus wants us to ask for things in His Name, so that we may be filled with joy. This is the reward for overcoming in victory which He has prepared for us to receive. Too many Christians are poor receivers. He wants to give us many things, including the keys to the Kingdom.
"...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:23-24.
"The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." Ruth 2:12.
We are to demonstrate the joy that Christ has given to us for all the world to see. We are a new creature in Him. Let us rejoice and be glad and sing praises unto our Creator! We are no longer bound by the chains of the enemy, but have been set free to live!
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10.
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6.
Since we know that we must please God in order to be rewarded with joy, the above verse makes it clear that without faith it is impossible to please God. So it is that faith is required for joy. Faith is the opposite of fear. Joy is a reward for victory over fear. So it stands to reason that we must have joy if we have faith. The two are inseparable.
The level of joy demonstrates our level of faith (victory over fear), and our level of victory over various sins and depression as well. The more faith, the more joy we should have.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.
You can see by the above Scripture that hope is directly linked to faith, so then hope is also linked to joy. The mandate that the Lord has given me is "to deliver hope to a lost and dying world." I know that faith and hope, when nurtured properly, will be rewarded with joy. Therefore I must plant seeds in people of hope combined with faith, so that they will bear the fruit of joy in their lives.
It is the responsibility of every believer in Christ to be careful to not allow anything to choke out our faith in God. We must believe God in every area of our lives. Remember, we can't please God without faith, nor can we experience the fulness of joy without faith. Nor can we be in His Presence without faith, as that requires fulness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
The enemy will fight us tooth and nail in the areas of hope and faith to prevent us from experiencing joy and God's Presence. We must be vigilant to defend our hope and faith, and to trust in Him alone.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5,6.
We have already seen that demonstrating joy and giving yourself permission to receive joy are highly beneficial. They open up the door for God to use and flow through us by His Spirit. After all, we are to be yielded vessels that the Lord would use.
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:5-7.
Apart from God we can do nothing. But with Christ, we can do all things.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.
We should live, to so radiate joy, that the infectious nature of joy may draw others to a saving knowledge of Christ. People ultimately desire happiness and peace, and the fullness of joy that you radiate will be like a beacon of hope pointing them into the arms of the Beloved Savior.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
Joy Is A Guidepost
We should be like Paul and be "Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." Acts 28:31. It should be our great pleasure to serve Him, and do whatever the Lord says.
Joy should point people to Christ, to be like a guidepost along the journey that makes up this life. We should never forget, nor take advantage of, the marvelous gift that God has outstretched before us.
Joy is a destination, a reward, and a sign that we are moving in the right direction. Joy should be sought after, desired, pursued and received. For without joy, we are weak, lost, miserable and depressed. Seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and let His joy guide your path.
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Romans 14:17.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33.
God makes known to us the path of life, so we can avoid hell, and fills us with joy in His Presence:
"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:10-11.
We are invited to taste and see that Lord is good. He leads us on the right path. What better guidepost is there than the Lord? Who is like unto Him?
"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalm 34:8.
The Lack Of Joy
If you ignore or are unaware of the many benefits of joy which I have described in this writing, you do so at your own detriment. Not only do you miss out on many blessings and benefits that God desires you to enjoy, but you make it much harder to stay on an "even keel" and be happy in your life. The Scripture is clear that many people perish for "lack of knowledge." Ignorance of God's laws and His instructions is no excuse.
"For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." Jeremiah 4:22.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4:6.
Lack of joy tends to lead to lack of peace. People with lack of peace tend to have problems with sleeping regularly, overeating, various medical issues, lack of self esteem, and a host of other problems. Clearly, I believe that the lack of joy is detrimental to one's health.
Also, lack of joy shows that you are defeated and lacking in victory. Who in their right mind would want to come to you for your advice, guidance and use of your services, since, by your lack of joy, you are demonstrating to the world that you can't even be victorious in your own matters?
They say that misery likes company. Well there are a lot of people who are in a poor, wretched state, but I doubt you want to spend eternity with any of them. They are miserable, and only want to make you miserable with them. Many people envy joy and the blessings of God that accompany joy. Don't fall for their lies, snares and traps. They only lead to destruction!
"For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." 2 Peter 2:21-22.
Other traits of lack of joy (i.e. the lack of reward for victory) which are common, are people who are: stubborn, unhappy, bitter, prideful, boasting, gossiping, jealous, insecure, malicious and hateful. Avoid these kinds of people, if at all possible, unless the Lord directs you to minister to and encourage them. Then, only do so when you know the grace of God is flowing to protect you from picking up the waves of "junk" that they are spreading or spewing to others around them.
The lack of joy is a symptom of a deeper disease or illness, that wants to eat up everybody in its path, and destroy their hopes, dreams and ambitions.
Tomorrow is promised to no man. God is not mocked. You never know in life the allotted number of days you will be spending here on the Earth. Today is the day of salvation. Don't put off accepting Christ for another moment, for you might find it to be too late.
Likewise, don't put off telling and showing others about Christ. For by your negligence in being a light for Him, you might be damning souls to hell without even realizing it. Show joy at all times, so that others may have hope and faith in Christ.
"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." 1 Peter 1:24-25.
"...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation..." 2 Corinthians 6:2.
The last thing you should ever want is for you, or other people, to end up in hell, where there will be torment, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Consider your words and actions carefully in this life, as people are watching everything you do.
"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:49-51.
Joy Of His Presence
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." Psalm 51:10-13.
Oh, to walk with the Lord continually, and to pray without ceasing! Constant abiding with Him in His Presence is a joy that can not be fully described, it must be experienced.
We should take heed to allow nothing in this life to separate us from the love of the Father. Know that if we abide in Him, He shall abide in us.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." John 15:4-6.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39.
Truth Or Consequences
"Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." Luke 15:10.
Consider a common game for young children in America that is called "Chutes And Ladders." In the rest of the world, you may be familiar with a similar game called "Snakes and Ladders." The object of the game is to climb a 10x10 square grid board from bottom to top, and to utilize "ladders" to help you climb or advance rapidly to the top. Avoid "chutes" or "snakes" that send you down lower on the board if you land on them. This is a game of "ups" and "downs," where good spins (or rolls of a die) land you on "ladders" that take you up, and bad spins (or rolls) send you crashing down to a lower position on the board. This game is very similar to what happens in a Christian's life.
Life is comprised of a set of circumstances and conditions, much like the play of the above game. We advance and are blessed if we hold to God's truths, and we are penalized if we choose to sin against God. All our actions in life end us in one of two places, either with truth being rewarded, or with us suffering the consequences that result from our sins.
Unfortunately, for too many Christians, they advance a few spaces forward, soon to be followed by a precipitous drop resulting from sin. This "roller coaster" effect of going up and down in our pursuit of the Christian life makes us ineffective and unproductive for God's Kingdom, to say the least. The example we set for others, of what it means to be a Christian, is also confusing at times.
Without stability in our witness and testimony that we project to others, we often fail to demonstrate a total victorious life in Christ. God desires that we be stable, and show others the victory He has already given us in Christ. We are to flee sin, and its snares, and live an overcoming life. Remember that joy is the reward for victory, in this case for victory over sin.
People often ask me how they can overcome the desire to sin, and live in complete victory. I tell them that only through Christ is this possible, for He has overcome the world. It is a day by day walk, and the longer you go without sin, the less sway it will have over you. The more often you sin, the more you are like the piece in the game that slides down the "chutes" or "snakes," and gets further from the prize of being in a close relationship with God. Sin is separation from God.
We can do all things through Christ. He strengthens us and gives us power to resist sin. Ask Him to cleanse you and make you clean, and to give you wisdom and strength to overcome all sinful desires. Repent of all your sins, forgive others, and ask God to forgive you of all your sins.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:7-8.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7.
The Pleasure Of Doing What Is Right
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11.
When you do right things, you not only advance closer to God, but you feel more joy. There is pleasure in serving and pleasing God. Even small things, like organizing one's life and paying bills brings pleasure. Whenever you honor God, you feel pleasure knowing that you are doing what is right and true. He is worthy of all honor and praise of men and of angels.
"Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." Revelation 7:12.
When you do right, no one can attack you properly, as you have a true defense. The righteousness of God shall protect us and encamp around those who serve God in truth.
I love the many promises that God gives us, including protection, found in Psalm 91:
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."
All that He asks, in order for us to receive all these benefits, is that we dwell in the secret place of the most High under His shadow. Seeking after and abiding in His Presence should be main goals in our life. His benefits, including those of joy, are not to be underestimated or taken lightly. We should appreciate the honor of being allowed into His Presence and being able to have a relationship with Him.
Ever Increasing Overcoming (or True Greatness)
Finally, we should strive to attain higher, ever increasing levels of overcoming victory in Christ. God desires us to be victorious in every area of life. Put Him first, honor Him, thank and appreciate Him.
He wants us to be victorious over sin, fear, depression and all other things that would try and hold us back from a proper relationship with Him. As as reward for victory over these things He gives us joy. Joy will serve to strengthen us, and help us to attain even higher levels of faith, victory and overcoming.
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:1-5.
"...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31."He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Revelation 21:7.