We sing so many songs about joy. We sing songs like "Joy Unspeakable" and "Let The Joy Overflow" and "Joy To The World". We sing, "The windows of heaven are open, the blessings are falling tonight. There's joy, joy, joy in my heart since Jesus made everything right" (The Windows of Heaven) and "Floods of joy o'er my soul like the sea billows roll" (Since Jesus Came Into My Heart) and "There is joy in serving Jesus." Too often in the Lord's service we must ask, "Where is the joy?" God's servants are many times grumpy, complaining, discouraged, cranky, and just plain joyless. My friends, these things ought not to be!
The Bible is replete with references to the joy that can and should be ours as believers. We are to possess a joy that is based upon the wonderful presence, power, and promises of our Great God and King the Lord Jesus Christ. In John chapter 15 our Lord speaks of abiding in Him. Christ gave this teaching for the purpose stated in verse 11, "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Our Savior wants us to experience His joy and to have fullness of joy, not a smattering, a pinch, or a part of joy - fullness! In I John 1:4 we read, "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." The apostle John in writing his first epistle does so for the expressed purpose of fullness of joy for the readers. Therefore, we conclude that our Lord's words both spoken and written are given that the believers might experience fullness of joy while living here in this sin-cursed world. We are not to be defeated and dejected but full of joy. The joy of sins forgiven, of Christ as Savior, of God as Father, and of Heaven as home results in inner peace.
We will find that a familiarity and conformity to the Word of God will produce a joy like unto none other. Our close walk with Him will cause and enhance that joy. When did the apostle Peter get into trouble? He got into trouble when he followed the Lord afar off after the Lord's arrest in the garden. Peter while falling afar off failed to believe the very words of Christ Himself concerning this very time. Peter had no joy that night and all looked lost and hopeless, yet they were on the eve of Christ's most glorious victory. How often we find ourselves overwhelmed by this world's pressures, problems, and pains. Many times we sink into despair, loose our joy, and follow afar off. We should keep our eyes on God's presence, God's power, and God's precious promises. We must continue to walk close to Him even in the dark while holding on to His omnipotent hand.
This joy is to be full. The world cannot give this type of fullness. There is no substitute that exists for Christ's joy because it is a product of His Divine Spirit as recorded in Galatians 5:22, "But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith..." Only the Holy Spirit can produce this genuine joy of which Christ spoke and the apostles wrote. It cannot be worked up in the flesh. It cannot be forged, duplicated, or fained. It is produced by the Holy Spirit of God alone. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) He will produce His fruit of joy in us. This being filled with the Spirit is not a mysterious matter, as some would have you believe. The key to being filled is in being "fillable". When we are familiar with the Scripture and in conformance with it we are fillable. Being filled with the Spirit simply means that we are available to and desirous of His leadership. Paul speaks about this availability in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." We need to surrender ourselves to His control and filling.
Romans 14:17 & 18 tells us, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men." If one is to truly and acceptably serve the Lord he or she must do it with joy. Joy is a key is serving Christ. We should find it a joy to serve Christ and we should do it with joy. These verses also tell us that when we serve with joy our service is found acceptable to men as well as God. Often our service for the Lord may be rejected, misunderstood, or ineffective with men because of a lack of joy. When men see a joy in our service they also see a reality in it, a reason for them to be interested. When the Queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon's greatness one of the things upon which she commented was the attitude of Solomon's servants. In I Kings chapter 10 and verse 8 the Queen of Sheba exclaims, "Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom." These words are a testimony to Solomon's greatness and graciousness as king. We must remember that we serve One far greater than Solomon, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. We serve the Great King. If there was reason to serve Solomon with joy then how much more a reason to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!
God's people should demonstrate a. genuine Spirit-wrought joy as they serve Him. Perhaps God's people need to pray as David did in Psalm 51:12, "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit." Sin robs of joy. Our salvation is inherent with fullness of joy. However, sin will rob us of the joy that should be ours by familiarity with and conformance to the Word. Before David could experience the restoration of the joy of his salvation he had to confess his sins to God. He does this in verses 1-9. We are told to do the same thing in I John 1:9. The presence of unconfessed sin in the life of the believer forbids the presence of joy. Why? Because sin grieves the Holy Spirit who produces joy. Once this sin is confessed and brought under the cleansing power of Christ the Holy Spirit will then cease to be grieved and once again be free to produce fullness of joy. I do want you to notice at this point that David does not ask for God to return unto him salvation but rather the joy of it! We can never loose our salvation for that is a free gift of God secured by the acceptance of Christ's atoning sacrifice, but we can loose the JOY of our salvation when we carry unconfessed sin in our hearts. We need to ask as David asked, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)
Joy. The servants of the Lord should be of all people the most joyous. God should see the joy in our hearts, and people should see the joy of Christ in our countenance and our lives as well as hear it in our speech. My dear friend, if you want to be "Fit For The Master's Use" then you need to serve the Lord with gladness (joy). Let us not allow sin to rob us of our joy. Let us keep our thoughts on the presence, the power, and the precious promises of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us serve the King of Kings with the joy that befits such an honorable and venerable King. Let us so serve with joy that others may recognize it as did the Queen of Sheba concerning Solomon's servants, and let it bring glory to God. Without joy you will not be able to continue very long in the service of Christ. Without serving with joy you will not last long in the ministry. Without the fullness of joy that the Lord can give by the Holy Spirit Your service will lack a dimension of effectiveness so desperately needed in the ministry today.