1 JOHN 1:1-4 – That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. “
THEME OF THE DAY: WORD-BASED JOY. Joy is so important in the Christian life with many applications, but let’s attempt to define it and that is difficult. It is like the peace that passes understanding. We cannot explain it, but we know when we have or don’t have it. Joy, in its simple biblical definition, would be “an emotional state of gladness that is not based on circumstances or ebbing and flowing based on feelings.” We may even say, “Joy is not earthly happiness but a spiritual experience of settled confidence and hope that is outside of ourselves and brings stability to the heart and mind of those having it.” Now at least four truths about joy as it applies in our walks with the Lord.
First, it is our Lord’s gift and promise. In the Upper Room Discourse of John 13-16, the Lord Jesus refers to it five times. Here are two of those references – These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11) and Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24). What this means is a Christian is supposed to walk in the joy of the Lord and not to is a contradiction to His gift and promise.
Joy is also one of the fruits in the cluster of fruit known as “The Fruit of the Spirit” – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). Make sure we understand this is not “The Fruits of the Spirit” but “The Fruit of the Spirit.” It is a package deal. The Holy Spirit develops all of them in the Christian, not some of them, and this joy is part.
A third truth of the joy of the Lord is the power it supplies to the Christian spiritually, emotionally, and yes, even physically. In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, we read – Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Thomas Parr in his book Joy in Dark Places wrote, “Joy strengthens you to do right in hardship. Christians are to be so joyful that they have the strength to overcome the crushing weight of hardship. Far from being of marginal importance, the emotion of biblical joy is necessary for spiritual power.” When weariness attempts to lay us aside in the Christian fight and walk, learn to appropriate the joy of the Lord by faith. It will prove to empower us in weary times.
A final truth about joy comes from a portion of today’s scripture – And we are writing these things so our joy will be complete (1 John 1:4). All things God does in the world and His people are by the Holy Spirit through His Word. How did creation come about? The Word of God. How does new birth come? The Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). And how do we know, experience, and walk in the joy of the Lord? By the Word of God. Why? Joy is promised by the Word of God. Joy is grounded in knowledge of the Word of God. Joy is revealed in the Living Word of God, the Lord Jesus, through the written Word of God. The conclusion? Joy is word-based meaning if our joy is to be consistent and empowering, the written Word of God must be renewing our minds and saturating our hearts. And if so, enjoy the joy of the Lord as He desires of us and has provided for us.
PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for the joy You have given me in Your Son.”
QUOTE: “Joy is not happiness for it is not based on circumstances. It is based on God’s Son and Word.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,