Source of True Joy
We all want to experience joy in our lives, but the truth is there are things that can rob us of joy. Not too long ago I put out a question on our 700 Club Canada Facebook page asking, what steals your joy? These were some of the responses:
- Comparison, when I feel less than others
- Competition, when I feel I can’t keep up
- Unmet expectations
That’s quite a list. Can you relate to any of those things stealing your joy? I’m sure we all can to one degree or another.
There is good news today. We can have joy in spite of any of those things! True joy is not dependent on whether I’m experiencing stress, sickness, regret, fear, unmet expectations or feeling like I’m not measuring up. True joy is a frame of mind, not a feeling.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul uses the word joy 16 times! He tells us that we find joy even in the middle of difficult circumstances. The joy-stealers above are all situations that can change from one day to the next. But the source of true joy is not transient or changing, because the source of our joy is Jesus, and He is eternal and unchanging.
The Bible says:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
He does not change! Because He does not change, He is able to be the source for unchanging, unending, indestructible joy for us no matter what is happening in our life.
Paul was not a happy-go-lucky, nothing-bad-ever-happens-to-me type of person. His freedom was denied, his finances were dwindling, his future was in doubt. Yet, it was Paul who wrote such things as
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11)
Paul could write those things because the eternal, unchanging Jesus was the source of his joy. We can make Him the source of our joy and experience joy in any circumstance as well.
What do we do when life is unfair? Do we grumble? Do we become bitter and angry? Do we say, “Why me?” If our joy is centered on transient things, that’s most likely what we do. Paul, though, centered his joy on Jesus and his relationship with Him. That’s why he wrote,
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! (Philippians 3:1)
When Jesus is our source, our joy does not have to dissipate when problems come our way, because Jesus never changes. We can rejoice in Him, even when our lives get rocky. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our stability, our hope and our joy. So don’t let those joy-stealers gain any ground in your life, because that’s courageous living.
Prayer of Commitment
Father, thank You for being my stability and source of joy. I focus on You and not my changing circumstances and rejoice in You today.
2 Chronicles 20:21-22 21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 22As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
Yesterday we read about the people waiting upon God and getting His instructions on how to face the vast army coming against them. They believed and began to obey God. Jehoshaphat consulted with the people to see if they had the faith to put singers out front. Apparently, they liked the idea. Since they truly believed that God was going to fight the battle and deliver them, they thought they might as well sing praise for the splendor of His holiness on the way there. This huge men’s choir sang the same chorus that was sung at the dedication of the temple. It must have been the national anthem of Judah.
If you ever attended a Promise Keeper event and heard tens of thousands of men sing praises to God, you have a taste of what this must have been like. The praise was not a part of the LORD’s instruction, but it was a natural response when they believed He was delivering them from their enemy. As they sang, the LORD turned the enemy upon one another. There was not one enemy soldier left alive. Judah took three days to gather all the spoils of war. There was more than they could carry away. On the fourth day they held a great praise festival in the Valley of Praise.
The people’s response to God’s word in the face of a major threat upon their lives is an example to us. They didn’t mope around or complain and whine; instead they sang their thanks to God for who He is.
Consider: It is often during an expression of faith that the LORD delivers us from that which we fear.
Streams in the Desert – August 12
- 202212 Aug
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises. 2 Peter 1:4
When a shipwright builds a vessel, does he build it to keep it upon the stocks? Nay, he builds it for the sea and the storm. When he was making it, he thought of tempests and hurricanes; if he did not, he was a poor shipbuilder.
When God made thee a believer, He meant to try thee; and when He gave thee promises, and bade thee trust them, He gave such promises as are suitable for times of tempest and tossing. Dost thou think that God makes shams like some that have made belts for swimming, which were good to exhibit in a shop, but of no use in the sea?
We have all heard of swords which were useless in war; and even of shoes which were made to sell, but were never meant to walk in. God’s shoes are of iron and brass, and you can walk to Heaven in them without their ever wearing out; and His life-belts, you may swim a thousand Atlantics upon them, and there will be no fear of your sinking. His Word of promise is meant to be tried and proved.
There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He loves to be employed by us. Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do.
O man, I beseech you do not treat God’s promises as if they were curiosities for a museum; but use them as every day sources of comfort. Trust the Lord whenever your time of need comes on.
–C. H. Spurgeon
Go to the deeps of God’s promise,
And claim whatsoever ye will;
The. blessing of God will not fail thee,
His Word He will surely fulfill.
How can God say no to something He has promised?
God’s people in the furnace
“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10
Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7
Beloved, the first thing I will give you is the comfort of the text itself—election. Comfort yourself with this thought: God says, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” “The fire is hot, but he has chosen me; the furnace burns, but he has chosen me; these coals are hot, I do not love the place, but he has chosen me.” Ah! It comes like a soft gale assuaging the fury of the flame. It is like some gentle wind fanning the cheeks; yes, this one thought arrays us in fireproof armour, against which the heat has no power. “Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, you may come in at the door—God is in the house already, and he has chosen me. Sickness, you may come, but I will have this by my side for a balsam—God has chosen me. Whatever it is, I know that he has chosen me.” The next comfort is that you have the Son of man with you in the furnace. In that silent bedchamber of yours, there sits by your side one whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you know it not, he makes your bed in your affliction, and smooths your pillow for you. You are in poverty; but in that lonely house of yours that has nothing to cover its bare walls, where you sleep on a miserable straw mattress, you know that the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor; he often treads those bare floors, and putting his hands upon those walls he consecrates them! If you were in a palace he might not come there. He loves to come into these desolate places that he may visit you. The Son of man is with you, Christian.
Pay Attention to the Bereans
Evan Heerema , Today Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — ACTS 17:10-15
The Berean Jews . . . received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
A class I taught at a local Christian college was called “Gateway to Excellence.” It was an introductory class for all new students. When asked by others what the class was about, I would initially say that it was meant to equip students to become better thinkers and responsible followers of Jesus in their career choices.
As a follower and servant of Jesus, I must be fully committed to his cause. Because of his love for me, Jesus died for me and equipped me with spiritual gifts so that I can serve him here on earth. And through his Spirit, Jesus promises to be with us until he comes again.
When Paul went to Berea, he taught these things to the people there. And the Bereans were good thinkers who did not just take information at face value; they also examined the Scriptures to confirm what Paul was saying. Recognizing the truth of God in Paul’s message, many of them became believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior.
Smart people need to be wise people, and wise people need to be listened to, talked with, questioned, and accepted if what they are saying is the truth.
Be a student and thinker who digs into God’s Word, finding the way, the truth, and the life.
God of wisdom, fill our hearts with the truth of your Word so that we will be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19), showing grace and patience for your sake. Amen.