As Christians, we should be the most hopeful and joyful of all people on this planet because we serve a sovereign God who is still reigning on His throne. What is joy? Here is my best attempt at a definition: Joy is that deep sense of peace and confidence in the Lord in where we trust in Him no matter what our circumstances and He produces a settled delight in our hearts that rests in His sovereignty and love.
Notice first of all that joy is deep. It is not a surface emotion like happiness that is fleeting, but a deep confidence and sense of peace in Christ alone. Secondly, joy is not dependent upon our circumstances. We can be joyful in times of trials and sufferings and we can be joyful in times of great blessing. Thirdly, this joy comes from the Lord where He produces this settled or satisfied or contentment in our hearts that is solely based upon His sovereign love.
As Christians, it is an affront to the very gospel of Christ to walk around mopishly, sad, depressed, and defeated without the joy of the Lord. Psalm 42:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.” Have you put your hope in this sovereign God who rules and reigns in absolute sovereignty?
Have you prayed to the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit deeply in your soul—especially joy? Can you say like Ezra in the book of Nehemiah 8:10: “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Is the joy of the Lord your strength? Do you have a deep, settled contentment in your soul because our lives, our nation, this universe, are in the hands of all sufficient and sovereign Saviors?
Brothers and sister in Christ, may we be the voice and face of hope and joy in this culture? May a lost and confused and dying world look to us as those who have a deep sense of joy because we know that Christ has overcome and won the victory? Jesus has come to give us joy that is full in John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” In John 16:22, Jesus gives us an indestructible joy that cannot be taken away: “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
May we be lights shining in the dark shadows of this confused and befuddled world as we hold out the hope of Christ in the gospel of salvation?