Summary: Billy Sunday observed "If there’s no joy in your religion, you’ve got a leak in your faith." In a world that is often discouraging and frustrating, how can a Christian keep the Joy of the Lord as their strength?
II. Now, some will point out that the reason they have no joy in their lives is because they don’t have a reason to be joyful.
Life seems like it’s fallen apart.
They aren’t satisfied with their job… if they even have one.
Their family has problems.
Their health isn’t good
Their car has gone in for repairs for the 10th time this year.
They just can’t see a “reason” for being joyful.
And, I can’t blame people for feeling that way. It’s hard to be joyful when life is going against you. It’s hard to be joyful when you’re
… struggling with troubles,
…or overwhelmed by pain,
…or unsure of your future.
But there’s a problem with THAT approach to life. If we wait till everything to turns out the way we want them to in our lives… if we’re not going to be joyful until all the leaks are patched in our lives… THEN we’re NEVER going to experience JOY. Or, if we do have joy, it will be a rare occurrence.
Jesus Himself warned us that "… In this world you will have trouble..." John 16:33
Now, the good news is this. You don’t have to wait until you’re Happy with your life/ to have joy in your life. The kind of joy God wants you to have in your life WILL bring you happiness. But the pursuit of happiness will not always bring you joy.
ILLUS: That realization caused me to remember a little phrase I learned years ago, back in math class: “All squares are rectangles… but not all rectangles are squares”
I believe the same kind of concept exists in Scripture: “God’s Joy will always bring happiness… but the pursuit of happiness will not always bring joy.”
Why would that be?
The word happiness actually derives from the English word “Happenstance” which means “something that HAPPENs because of a circumSTANCE”
Thus – what we think of as happiness is an emotion that is caused by our circumstances. Worldly happiness is almost always reliant upon some situation or event to make us feel good.
If something good happens… we’ll feel good
But if something bad happens… we won’t.
By contrast… God’s kind of Joy does not depend upon present situation. In fact, God’s joy often can exist despite our circumstances.
ILLUS: A person once asked his friend… “How are you doing?”
His friend was upset about something that had happened in his life and replied “Oh… all right – under the circumstances.”
To which the 1st man replied “what you are doing there? What are you doing UNDER your circumstance.”
God doesn’t want us to be UNDER our circumstances
God wants us to be OVERCOMERS
He wants us to give us the ability to have control of our lives
He wants to set us free from the chains and the shackles that life can impose on us.
Jesus said: “… if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
III. That’s why Scripture so often tells us to rejoice…even when it doesn’t make any sense
James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.