I wish to encourage you to walk in the joy of Christ. New Testament joy speaks of cheerfulness, calm delight and gladness. For the Christian, joy is both an unavoidable result of salvation, while also being a discipline of daily walking with the Lord. The writer of Hebrews focuses our attention on the author and example of joy, writing; Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 NIV).
Solomon realised that a glad heart makes a cheerful face… (Proverbs 15:13). Genuine joy in the Lord Jesus Christ migrates from the heart to the face, and the world will see it. After all, we were dead in our trespasses, yet God made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:5). Although we were once separated from Christ, alienated… strangers… having no hope and without God… But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:12-13). As born-again believers in Jesus Christ as Lord, we have many present and eternal reasons for joy because it is the Lord who has made …known to me (us) the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalms 16:11).
Joy in Christ is not based upon the temporary experiences of life. Experiences are the wrong foundation for faith, that’s why some seem to fall away from Jesus as soon as trials come along (Matthew 13:20-21). No, our joy grows out of deep belief, repentant dependence upon Christ, from our surrenderedness in obedience to Jesus’ Lordship, upon our submission to the authority of God’s written Word, the Bible. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
In fact, our joy is the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit. As He controls us we manifest the fruit of the Spirit (which) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The apostle Paul instructed the Ephesians to …be filled (controlled) with the Spirit, resulting with believers communicating with …one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:18-21).
As believers, our joy is in reality the Lord’s joy. His Holy Spirit generates the joy, the Word of God fuels the joy, and our surrenderedness expresses our faith that works in synchronism with the will of God to accomplish all this in His name and for His glory.
Unfortunately, we’re able to interrupt the joy of the Lord by resisting His sanctify work, by superimposing our wills, our desires, our expectations, and our methods of dealing with life; we usurp His authority with our reasoning. Nothing is more effective at this than simply refusing to change while expecting others the change.
Today, I encourage you to surrender, to love, and to forgive as you have been forgiven. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. God will be glorified, the Body of Christ will be built up, unbelievers will witness the power of the gospel, and you will experience the Joy of the Lord.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong