Summary: Joy can be defined as: "Inner happiness, which is not dependent on outward circumstances." The O.T. word "simchah" means "gladness of heart," the NT word, "chara" means "inner delight."
THE BANANA OF JOY
I). WHAT is Joy?
2). HOW is Joy Expressed?
3). HOW is Joy Developed?
I. WHAT IS JOY?
Joy can be defined as: "Inner happiness, which is not dependent on outward circumstances." The O.T. word "simchah" means "gladness of heart," the NT word, "chara" means "inner delight."
The fact that our joy as believers is NOT based on outward circumstances can be seen in verses like:
James 1:2, 3 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."
Rom. 5:2, 3 " through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;"
Acts 5:41 "So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."
II. HOW IS JOY EXPRESSED?
The sources of JOY are expressed by the well-known acrostic: J-O-Y
The inner happiness of a Christian’s life is based on the close personal relationship he has with the living Christ, from his daily walk with God, from the knowledge that he has been reconciled to God and is now as close personal friend of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
-Ps. 43:4 "Then will I go unto the altar of the Lord unto God my exceeding joy."
Ps. 16:11 "In thy presence is fullness of joy."
-Jer. 15:16 "Thy Word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart."
-1 Pt. 1:8 "Whom having not seen, you love in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
We also receive great joy from serving other people and seeing them grow in their relationship with Jesus through our ministry to them.
- 1 Thes. 2:19-20 "For what is our hope, or joy or crown of rejoicing? For you are our glory and joy."
-3 Jn. 4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
-2 Cor. 8:2 "In great trial the abundance of their joy abounded unto the riches of their giving."
The third source of joy for Christians is the recognition of who and what we are in Christ- Children of the King, forgiven of all our sin, joint heirs with Christ, inheritors or eternal life, ambassadors for Christ, gifted servants of the most high God, tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, etc.
"Rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Lk. 10:20) "Your heart will rejoice and your joy no man can take from you. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." (Jn. 16:22-24) "Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy, that you may abound in joy through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Ro. 15:13) "These things I have spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full." (Jn. 15:11)
So our lives are filled with inner happiness when we are walking close with Jesus, pouring out our lives for others, and enjoying the blessing of who we are in Christ!
There are many different ways we can show our joy to God and others: singing, praising, giving thanks, weeping, shouting, smiling, giving, rejoicing, etc. But however we do it, we should DO it! There are too many long-faced unhappy-looking Christians.
If "The joy of the Lord is our strength" (Neh. 8:10), then we ought to reflect that joy where ever we go. Of course that doesn’t mean we’re going to go "bubbling" into the hospital room of someone who is seriously ill. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is "A time for sorrow." Romans tell us to "Weep with those who weep." Yet even in a "sorrowful situation," the inner happiness that comes from our relationship with God will shine through, bringing comfort and hope to those who are hurting.
III HOW IS JOY DEVELOPED?
We’ve already seen three ways we can have greater joy:
1.) By developing a deeper relationship with Christ.
2.) By developing a deeper fellowship with others.
3.) By recognizing WHO we are in Christ and developing a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Let’s not allow circumstances to dictate our joy- let’s receive it from God. "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice." (Phil 4:4)
OBEDIENCE AND DEPENDENCE
It is our responsibility to obey the commands we’ve outlined, yet at the same time it is impossible to "work up" inner gladness and delight. Ultimately, joy can only be produced by the Holy Spirit being IN us. We need to depend on Him to fill us up with the "Joy of the Lord."
~Pastor Jim Westervelt
~CHURCH WEBSITE (new and still in progress):