Have you ever asked yourself “Does God really care whether or not I’m joyful?”. If you have, you’re not alone! In fact, most people have probably asked it at one point or another when life gets rough. So what is the answer?
First of all, what does joyful mean? Is it the same as happy? Some may use the terms synonymously, but I believe joy is much deeper, related with spiritual/eternal things. Joy is an attitude, not emotion. Happiness would be the temporal, excited emotion of something good happening, i.e. receiving a gift, or a fun get-together. Once the “thing” leaves, so do the associated emotions.
On the other hand, with joy being an attitude, we can choose our reaction to circumstances. For example, someone gets a great job. They are so happy! But then they lose that job. Are they still happy? Hard times and tragedy in life are inevitable. But there is always the choice to decide to be joyful anyway, trusting that God will work things out for the best. Actually, Christian history has proved that the greatest joys can result from the most painful experiences.
Joyfulness is of the Lord, not of ourselves. We should always choose to be joyful, but only through the Holy Spirit can we do this.Those who do not know Christ cannot experience true joy. Those who do know Christ and His joy refuse to exchange it for anything. To add, faked joy isn’t real joy at all. We can pretend we’re joyful, pretend we’re trusting for the best, but deep inside we know it’s just hypocrisy. No, true joy is pure, effortless joy!
So why is it so important that we rejoice? The answer is simple; our rejoicing brings glory to Christ! And isn’t that our main purpose as Christians? “Man’s chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” When we are sad, discouraged, complaining etc, that doesn’t bring glory to God. It says “look at me, God isn’t taking care of me like He should”. We want to honor Christ, not dishonor Him.
Do I claim to “rejoice evermore”? Nay, far from it. I’m still but a mere baby in Christ, I’m only beginning to learn. There are plenty of times I feel like it’s not even possible to rejoice during such a trying time. But I know His Word is true, and by His grace I will continue to grow in this God-given joy!
As always, please don’t just take my word for these ideas…or dismiss my words as impossible. Look at the Scriptures to find out for yourself! Below I’ve listed merely a few of the numerous verses found on the subject, from the Old and New Testament. I pray you will be encouraged and blessed by them!
Nehemiah 8:10 …for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for thejoy of the LORD is your strength.
Job 41:22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace…
5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
30:5 …weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
15:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
~~~~~Soli Deo Gloria! ~~~~~