4For has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5And again in this passage he said, ”They shall not enter my rest.” 6Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7again he appoints a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’”—Hebrews 4:4-7
It is the privilege, I believe, of every Christian to walk in the light, as God is in the light, and to have that peace that will be flowing unceasingly as we keep busy about His work. And it is our privilege to be full of the joy of the Lord. We read that when Philip went to Samaria and preached, there was great joy in the city. Why? Because they believed the glad tidings. And that is the natural order, joy in believing. When we believe the glad tidings, there comes a joy into our souls. Also we are told that our Lord sent the seventy out and that they went forth preaching salvation in the name of Jesus Christ, and the result was that there were a great many who were blessed; and the seventy returned, it says, with great joy, even making the very devils subject to them through His name. The Lord seemed to just correct them in this one thing when He said, “Rejoice not that the devils are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven,” There is assurance for you. They had something to rejoice in now.
God doesn’t ask us to rejoice over nothing, but He gives us some ground for our joy. What would you think of a man or woman who seemed very happy today and full of joy and couldn’t tell you what made him or her so? Suppose I should meet a man on the street and he was so full of joy that he should get hold of both my hands and say, “Bless the Lord, I am so full of joy!”
“What makes you so full of joy?”
“Well, I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“No, I don’t. But I am so joyful that I just want to get out of the flesh.”
Despite my attempts to find out why he feels so joyful, his answer still remains, “I don’t know.” Would we not think such a person unreasonable? But there are a great many people who feel—who want to feel—that they are Christians before they are Christians; they want the Christian’s experience before they become Christians; they want to have the joy of the Lord before they receive Jesus Christ. But this is not the gospel order. He brings joy when He comes, and we cannot have joy apart from Him; there is no joy away from Him; He is the author of it, and we find our joy in Him.
- How have I seen the Spirit within me producing joy in my life?
- How do I typically respond to everyday circumstances? Would someone watching say it is with joy and gratitude?
Prayer – Dear Father, You are the source of all joy. By the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son, I have the way to eternal life and all the blessings of joy and peace that it brings. Forgive me when I want the joy without the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.