With all the craziness filling our world right now–culturally, socially, politically–we need to be injected with a fresh dose of spiritual joy! We’re discovering how to receive the joy of the Lord throughout our new mini-series: For the Joy. Our demarcation mark as Christ followers is our joy!
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NLT) 8You 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. 9The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
In her message, For the Joy, Pastor Beth Jones shares an encouraging word filled with 4 Bible-backed ways to spark joy in our lives and in the lives of others. God’s not done–He has a bright and abundant future in store for us! Let’s check out a few foundational scriptures as we dive into living in joy and gladness, just like Jesus did.
Proverbs 15:13-15 (NLT) 13A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. 14A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. 15For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) 22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
A joyful heart gives a happy healing…praise the Lord! These verses aren’t just an illustration of joy; it’s a literal reality. There’s even scientific proof of the healing powers of joy. When we are joyful, endorphins and adrenaline and serotonin all increase and, in turn, produce the feeling of happiness. Be encouraged today: If you’re believing in God for healing–mental, emotional, physical–the first step is to get a happy heart!
Remember, though, that the enemy works overtime to steal our joy and fill our hearts instead with fear, anxiety, stress, worry, and dismay. In this world, we will still experience trials and tribulations. Thankfully for us, Jesus has overcome the world and given us the opportunity to tap into the glorious, inexpressible joy of the Lord!
What does it mean to you to be joyous?
How does your day-to-day life look when you’re filled with joy?
How is the joy of the Lord different to you than worldly joy?
If there’s God, there’s joy. We have got to get our minds renewed to this truth! Paintings, stained glass windows, and even movies oftentimes portray God as sad, stoic, disgusted, angry…and that’s just simply not the case!
Joy is the atmosphere of God’s kingdom; it’s so abundant that it’s indescribable! Whether you’re a cup half empty or a cup half full kind of person, we all have to choose joy. Joy is wherever God is. It always has been that way, it is that way, and it always will be that way! Let’s see what scripture has to say about the steadfastness of God’s glorious, inexpressible joy.
Job 38:4-7 (NLT) 4“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. 5Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? 6What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone 7as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Even at the very beginning, the whole of creation began with joy. When God had us in mind, the only thing in His mind for us was the fullness of joy.
Romans 14:17 (NKJV) …17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, we have to unlearn our religious upbringing. God is not a killjoy! The signature mark of a Christian is joy because we have been made the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ! The kingdom of God is filled with wellness, abundance, and peace. Nothing is ever broken or missing. That is our joy!
It’s true–our world is crazy. But God is not freaked out by that! He laughs, and we should too. Jesus was anointed with the oil of joy and gladness more than anyone else, as we see in Acts chapter 10. At times, we will lose our joy and there will be difficulties. We are called to reclaim our joy when that happens because the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Isaiah 55:11 (NLT) 11Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
From start to finish–from eternity past to our present tense to our everlasting future–it is nothing but joy!
1 Peter 1:6,8 (NLT) 6So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 8You 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.
We can have joy because, no matter how difficult life gets, we are on the winning side. Even in the worst case scenario, we have eternal joy, past, present, and future. But how do we spark that joy? How do we get it going and ramp it up? Pastor Beth shares the answers with us in For the Joy.
How have you experienced the joy of the Lord in the past and present?
In what ways are you anticipating experiencing the joy of the Lord in the future?
Jesus is a joy-filled Savior. He wants that joy for us both when we enter His kingdom and during our time here on earth! Let’s dive in and discover 4 ways to spark the joy of the Lord.
Philippians 4:4 (NLT) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Ultimately, we have a choice as to whether we want to have a joyful attitude and live a joyful life. When we, by faith, read God’s word and believe it and decide to live it, choosing joy becomes a no-brainer. In For the Joy, at timestamp 24:25, Pastor Beth shares a personal story about choosing joy even in the midst of a less-than-joyful circumstance. Sometimes, our souls don’t feel joyful. But by renewing our minds and making a choice according to God’s word, we bceom full of joy.
Nehemiah 8:10,12 (NKJV) 10Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 12And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
2 Corinthians 6:8-10 (NLT) 8We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
Life can be hard. Things will be difficult. But when we have Christ, we have everything. To rejoice is a choice. Amen!
Romans 4:7 (NLT) 7Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
We can oftentimes get so dull to the reality of this verse, but we are all sinners! All of us were separated from God and would be for eternity; the wages of sin is death. Sin separates us from God, but when we receive Jesus as Lord, we are saved and our sins are put out of sight! He imputes to us His righteousness.
John 15:7 (RSV) 7I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over the sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Repent” means “change your mind.” Instead of being religious and realistic, we are called to live in the joy of the Lord under God’s goodness and grace. When we blow it, we don’t have to go back into bondage; we stay in the joy. This is a revelation of righteousness!
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) 11You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Jude 1:24 (NLT) 24Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
All glory to God! He is able to keep us from falling away! One day we’re going ot enter into His presence, but we can live in His presence every day, in the here and now. And in his presence is fullness of joy!
One way to come before God’s presence is with singing–turn off all the noise and begin to sing songs that connect your spirit with God’s. When you do, you’ll experience His joy in a fresh, new, invigorating way.
Jeremiah 15:16 (NLT) 16Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
God’s word is living and active. It offers new revelations, comfort and encouragement, and direction. If we will receive God’s word and believe it in our hearts, we will experience great joy. In For the Joy, Pastor Beth shares these verses to encourage us and lift us up:
Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 (NLT) 9What do people really get for all their hard work? 10I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 (NLT) 5The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. 6Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. 7So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! 8Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!
9Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. 10Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
Which of these 4 ways to spark joy resonates most for you? Which one do you struggle with the most? Why do you think that is?
How can you use these ways to spark joy in others in addition to yourself?
Life goes by fast! We need to live it to the fullest and not miss out on the glorious, inexpressible joy God intends for us. Let God’s word spark joy for you today!