Joy is an intrinsic part of the Christian life. So much so that one of the old catechisms can state that the chief purpose of mankind is to ‘glorify God and enjoy him forever.’ Glorifying God and enjoying him are not two separate but belong together. Without joy it would be impossible to glorify God because joy if the appropriate response to God’s goodness. Because we see and experience him as good, our hearts and thrilled and we find joy in him.
Few of us would need much persuading that joy is a good thing, but it can be surprising to see just how central the pursuit of joy in God is to Biblical faith. Paul instructs the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord, and then immediately repeats the instruction to drive him point hime.
This will be a thematic sermon, that looks at three aspects of joy in the Lord from different Bible verses.
Joy Is Found In God’s Presence (Psalm 16:11) – In this Psalm, David exults in God’s truth. He knows that God is his refuge, his provider and saviour. In this final verse David reflects on what it is to be in the presence of God and he speaks of fulness of joy and pleasures forevermore. The key to experiencing joy in the Lord is spending time in his presence.
Joy In the Lord Transcends Our Circumstances (Habakkuk 3:17-18) – Here Habakkuk reflects on times of hardship. He imagines a situation where there is nothing and describes the failure of the crops and herds such that there is no food. And even in this hypothetical scenario, Habakkuk insists that he will take joy in the Lord of his salvation. Joy in God is not something that depends on circumstances going well for us, but that comes from the salvation we have received. Whatever might be going on, we can still take joy in God.
Joy In the Lord Fuels the Christian Life (Matthew 13:44) – In this parable, Jesus speaks of a man who see a great treasure, and in his joy, he gives up everything for it. This primarily is a parable about Jesus, who, for the joy set before him endured the cross and gave up everything he had to redeem many sons and daughters. There is also an application for us. The joy that we find in Christ is the fuel that motivates any sacrifice we make in following him. The joy of the Lord is better than all of it.
- A joyful, celebratory time of worship would be an appropriate response. You may also wish to offer prayer for those who are struggling to find joy in God.