“Most Christians are not joyful persons because they are not holy persons, and they are not holy persons because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, and they are not filled with the Holy Spirit because they are not separated persons. The Spirit cannot fill whom He cannot separate, and whom He cannot fill, He cannot make holy, and whom He cannot make holy, He cannot make happy!”(3)
The Joy of Jesus is not something we can fake. It is not happiness that depends on our circumstances or moods but rather the fruit of a Spirit-filled and controlled life. Consequently, it does not fluctuate with conditions. It is by the Holy Spirit (1) who dwells within us we can have the joy of Jesus in the midst of trials. Again, it is the third person of the trinity, God the Holy Spirit that brings the Joy of Jesus into our lives!
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NET)
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:52)
For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
The Holy Spirit within you is the oil of rejoicing!
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing." (Hebrews 1:9)
with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:38)
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)
Now as for you, the anointing that you received from him resides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as it has taught you, you reside in him. (1 John 2:27)
The Lord Jesus’ Joy is our Strength to overcome the enemy. We are overcomers!!
He said to them, "Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage– I have conquered the world." (John 16:33)
The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 NET)
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), (Hebrews 2:14)
because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith. Now who is the person who has conquered the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)
I will grant the one who conquers permission to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! (Revelation 12:11-12 a)
If we are to experience the joy of our salvation, we will have to realize that there are conditions to receiving it. Specifically, being in right relationship with God through repentance, which leads to forgiveness. When David sinned he lost the joy of his salvation and prayed the following (2):
For the music director; a psalm of David, written when Nathan the prophet confronted him after David's affair with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love! Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts! Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! For I am aware of my rebellious acts; I am forever conscious of my sin. Against you– you above all– I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me. Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom. Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven! May the bones you crushed rejoice! Hide your face from my sins! Wipe away all my guilt! Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me! Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance! Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and sinners will turn to you. Rescue me from the guilt of murder, O God, the God who delivers me! Then my tongue will shout for joy because of your deliverance. O Lord, give me the words! Then my mouth will praise you. Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it; you do not desire a burnt sacrifice. The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit— O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject. Because you favor Zion, do what is good for her! Fortify the walls of Jerusalem! Then you will accept the proper sacrifices, burnt sacrifices and whole offerings; then bulls will be sacrificed on your altar. (Psalms 51:1-19)
David had his joy restored through the brokenness of repentance which brought him the assurance of forgiveness. However, David did not readily come to repentance. It was not until he met Nathan the prophet that he was concerned about his sin. Nathan’s words brought conviction and sorrow, which led to repentance and forgiveness from God. (2)
The sorrow that is according to the will of God is to be sorry for having sinned against a Holy God. This sorrow realizes that to sin against God is infinitely more severe than any of the consequences of the sinful act.
Then the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62)
Juxtaposed to Godly sorrow is the sorrow of the world which is being sorry for being caught and thus having to face the consequences.
When Samuel came to him, Saul said to him, "May the LORD bless you! I have done what the LORD said." Samuel replied, "If that is the case, then what is this sound of sheep in my ears and the sound of cattle that I hear?" Saul said, "They were brought from the Amalekites; the army spared the best of the flocks and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD our God. But everything else we slaughtered." Then Samuel said to Saul, "Wait a minute! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night." Saul said to him, "Tell me." Samuel said, "Is it not true that when you were insignificant in your own eyes, you became head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD chose you as king over Israel. The LORD sent you on a campaign saying, 'Go and exterminate those sinful Amalekites! Fight against them until you have destroyed them.' Why haven't you obeyed the LORD? Instead you have greedily rushed upon the plunder! You have done what is wrong in the LORD's estimation." Then Saul said to Samuel, "But I have obeyed the LORD! I went on the campaign the LORD sent me on. I brought back King Agag of the Amalekites after exterminating the Amalekites. But the army took from the plunder some of the sheep and cattle– the best of what was to be slaughtered– to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal." Then Samuel said, "Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as he does in obedience? Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice; paying attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and presumption is like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the LORD commanded and what you said as well. For I was afraid of the army, and I followed their wishes. Now please forgive my sin! Go back with me so I can worship the LORD." Samuel said to Saul, "I will not go back with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel!" When Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed the edge of his robe and it tore. Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to one of your colleagues who is better than you! The Preeminent One of Israel does not go back on his word or change his mind, for he is not a human being who changes his mind." Saul again replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel. Go back with me so I may worship the LORD your God." (1 Samuel 15:13-30)
We are not to yield to the sorrow of the world.
For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
Now when Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus had been condemned, he regretted what he had done and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood!" But they said, "What is that to us? You take care of it yourself!" So Judas threw the silver coins into the temple and left. Then he went out and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5)
We must choose not to give in to the temptation to stay in mourning but rather offer up the sacrifice of praise. Then, you will see your grief turned to the joy of Jesus!
I tell you the solemn truth, you will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into joy. (John 16:20)
The LORD says, "At that time young women will dance and be glad. Young men and old men will rejoice. I will turn their grief into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13)
For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one's life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)
By continually offering up the sacrifice of praise (1) we leave no time to yield to the sorrow of the world.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
When the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; when the olive trees do not produce, and the fields yield no crops; when the sheep disappear from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice because of the LORD; I will be happy because of the God who delivers me! The sovereign LORD is my source of strength. He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain. (This prayer is for the song leader. It is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.) (Habakkuk. 3:17-19)
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. At that time you will ask me nothing. I tell you the solemn truth, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive it, so that your joy may be complete. (John 16:22-24)
You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight. (Psalms 16:11)
Repentance and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin meaning you cannot have the one without the other. Repentance, which is a gift of God’s abundant grace (2 Timothy 2:25,26), precedes forgiveness (1). Remember, the message Jesus told His disciples to preach was a message of repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24:47). Consequently, this was the clarion call they proclaimed as they went into the world with the good news of salvation (Acts 5:30,31). Their message was clear and uncompromising, and it led people to real salvation. Ironically, this is the message of joy that we must humble ourselves to receive. We must realize that repentance is not part of my sinful nature and I cannot bring it about myself because I cannot change my hardened heart into a softened heart. If we are to enter into the joy of repentance, we must look to God in faith and pray for the gift of repentance. He alone can work miracles. Sanctification is a whole pathway of repentance and joy. Forgiveness is a fruit of repentance, and this leads to a hatred of sin and the fear of the Lord, which leads to an ever-deepening relationship with Him. An unforgiven sin that grows unchecked chokes the incoming love of God. It blocks the heart to His love. Repentance is a pathway to the Father heart of God, His love, and His forgiveness. A repentant heart has the blockages removed allowing the revelation of God’s love to flow freely.” (2)
Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. (Psalms 42:5)
For I know what I have planned for you,' says the LORD. 'I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:28-29)
“Prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus, who made the way possible for me to know Your heart. I can be forgiven because Jesus came and died for me. Often my heart is hard, and I don’t recognize my lack of joy. Thank You for the joy of Your salvation. I humble myself before You and look to You, and ask You to convict me of anything in my life that blocks the flow of Your love into my heart. Please give me the gift of repentance, and restore to me the joy of Your salvation. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” (2)
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation
(2) Adapted from Seeds of the Kingdom, The Joy of Salvation (1) by Magaret Silvester, May 6, 2014
(3) Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (1990). I talk back to the devil: Straightforward appeals for Christlike living (p. 31). Camp Hill, PA.: WingSpread.