January 28, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"[Love] does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." 1 Corinthians 13:6
One of the significant hallmarks of a Christian is the unique characteristic of joy. This joy springs from the presence of God in a person's life. It is not something we conjure up. We cannot produce joy; it comes from only one resource--God. It is often referred to as the joy of the Lord or joy in the Holy Spirit. Nehemiah told Israel, "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
Joy is one of the grand attributes of God Himself. Often we find believers who see God as an august, austere, awesome judge standing aloof and apart from us and the agony of our human anguish. But God is the One who longs for us, searches for us, and, when we are found, reveals Himself to us with unspeakable joy. He alone can give joy that is full of glory, thanksgiving, and praise to the Lord of our life!
How does this differ from happiness? Joy and happiness spring from entirely different sources. Happiness is conditional and dependent on what is occurring in our lives. It is bound up with the behavior of people, the sequence of events, or the circumstances we find ourselves in. Happiness is vulnerable, insecure, unreliable, and unpredictable. You say, "That's good...I'm happy" or "That's bad...I'm unhappy." You can apply this to people, wealth, business, social interactions, possessions or any other encounters.
Joy is founded on and springs from God. David wrote, "Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore." Joy is not dependent upon people, circumstances or the course of events, but upon our relationship with the Lord. It is our confidence in His faithfulness and care for us that solidifies our joy in the Lord. However crushing or exasperating our circumstances may be, HE IS THERE! He does all things well. He takes the broken things of our lives and makes something beautiful out of them for His glory. David said in the midst of all his enemies, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
Joy does not depend upon my performance, but upon my relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in the process of pouring His life into me that HIS JOY springs up from the stony, hard- packed soil of my soul. That's the joy of knowing He is at work in me and I am under His care. When we permit God, through the Holy Spirit, to pervade every aspect of our lives, we become engulfed and quickened in a new dynamic dimension, so that the whole of our being becomes alive to His indwelling presence!
To actually experience the control of Christ in our conversation and life is to sense the sovereignty of the Lord bringing order out of confusion, direction out of chaos, and joy out of despondency. Joy is being in harmony with Him in the whole of our lives. Do not look for joy; turn your eyes upon Jesus! Our joy is in Him. Our strength is in His ability to produce the joy. "In His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!"
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=28&date=2012-01-28
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