Recently we attended a wedding. Not such a common event in our diary currently, but what a blessing to be part of a joyful occasion. Because the wedding was out of town, there was even more enjoyment travelling to the event through our beautiful New Zealand spring countryside. Even the weather was a cause for joy, as the sun shone every day.
Our current church wide study “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” devoted a section to joy and the importance of pursuing joy. I found this very thought provoking. Some of the points made were: that we have greatly underestimated the necessity of joy; that cutting off joys and pleasures can have the effect of weakening us in our efforts to do what is right; that the emphasis of feast days in the Old Testament were to be transforming experiences; that the word holiday comes from the practice of “holy days”; that the problem is not that we are too happy for God’s taste, but that we are not happy enough. So, if this is all true, the Bible must have lots to say about it. I checked it out.
Here are some examples. In the Old Testament there is love (So 1:4), marriage (Pr 5:18), birth of children (Psalm 113:9), military victory (Isa 9:3), salvation (Psalm 40:16, 64:10). In fact, the Psalms are full of joy and gladness. In the New Testament we read about joyful times when Jesus performed the miracle at the Cana wedding, the birth of John the Baptist, the angel’s greeting to Mary, when the shepherds heard the news of Jesus birth, the prodigal son’s return, the woman finding the lost coin, the man selling his assets to purchase the treasure hidden in the field.
Jesus told the disciples that He spoke to them so that His joy would be in them and their joy would be made full. The fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in us includes joy. Even when we would think there couldn’t possibly be joy we find that Paul talks about it in the midst of affliction.
As we go through our day we should see God’s hand, whether in trials that He allows or blessings that He gives to show us His love. We can take time to enjoy God in His creation. Knowing joy and gladness is to know God’s presence. Living a life that is right with Him will cause us to live in joy and gladness. Of course, we won’t be totally full of His joy until we’re with Him in heaven. But we should seek Him continually, not settling for a little bit of joy, but asking Him for the fulness of His joy that comes with our salvation.
Have a joyful week!