"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" - Philippians 4:4 NIV
Water drips from the eaves of the house as I look outside my window. Gray clouds fill the sky and pour out their drizzle on field and forest alike. Lichens and moss cling to the trees, adding to the rainforest-like atmosphere. The evergreens are heavy with moisture - looking like a wet sweater hung to dry as their branches droop lower and lower to the ground. Autumn leaves whirl about, as if attempting to escape their inevitable landing on the puddled brown earth. Amongst the quiet dripping of water and occasional sound of car tires splashing through puddles during the morning commute, I hear a resounding call that echoes through the valley. From experience, I immediately recognize this sound as the call of the Northern Flicker. Looking outside, I see a large spotted brown bird jabbing its beak into the moist lawn of our backyard.
As I hear the call of the Northern Flicker pierce the stillness of the morning, I think about how one of the hallmarks of the Christian life is the joy of the Lord. No matter what comes our way, we can be joyful because of Jesus. The uncontainable joy of the Christian is unflaggible and inexhaustible because it comes from a Powerful Source - the Lord Himself. The Bible has a lot to say about joy. In Nehemiash 8:10, it says "....the joy of the Lord is your strength."
The word joy is defined in the dictionary as 'a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.' But the Bible goes a step further when it says, the joy of the Lord is your strength. It suggests to us that joy isn't just a feeling, but something that comes from the Lord Himself to give us strength when we need it most.
Psalm 126:1-3 NIV states, "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."
The joy we have in our lives because of Jesus and what He has done for us is a wonderful witness to those around us. It causes people to stop and think. In John 15, Jesus gave us the key to experiencing this kind of joy. He says in verses 9 - 12, "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My Love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
As we see from Jesus' Words, the key to joyful living is found in obeying His commands, remaining in His love and loving each other. When we do these things, we'll experience the irrepressible, undeniable, uncontainable joyful life He intended for us to live.
Psalm 119:14 NIV says, "I rejoice in following your statutes as one who rejoices in great riches."
I'll close with a few more verses on joy:
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs." - Psalm 100:1-2 NIV
"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." - Psalm 126:3 NIV
"This is the day which the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalms 118:24 NKJV
By, Jessi Wasell
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