Joy Versus Enjoy (Part 2)

What are some Scriptures that talk about joy?

James 1:2-3 talks about the role that joy plays in suffering and trials and includes the ability to develop patience. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” 

Throughout the Bible are people who turned defeat into victory, and trials into triumph. Instead of being victims, they became victors. James tells us that we can have this same experience today. No matter what trials may be on the outside, or the temptations on the inside, through faith in Christ, we can experience victory. The result is spiritual maturity. If we are going to turn trials into triumphs, we must first count it all joy when we fall into diver’s temptations. The key word here is “count.” It is a financial term, and it means to “evaluate.” 

When Paul became a Christian, he evaluated his life and set new goals and priorities. Things that were once important to him became “garbage,” in light of his new experience with Christ. When we face the trials of life, we must evaluate them according to what God is doing for us. This explains why the dedicated Christian can have joy in trials. He lives for the things that matter most. Jesus was able to endure the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. The joy of returning to heaven and sharing His glory through His Church. 

Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and the physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to “count it all joy.” If we live only for the present and forget the future, then trials will make us bitter, not better. Job had the right outlook when he said, “But he knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10). So, when trials come, adopt a joyful attitude. Look at your trials through the eyes of faith. Outlook determines outcome. To end with joy, begin with joy!

1 Peter 1:8-9 employs the phrase “Joy unspeakable. “Whom, having not seen, you love, in whom now you see him not, yet believing you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 

What does “unspeakable” mean? Not able to adequately express in words. That’s how I feel about Jesus! I’m often unable to express how I feel in words. Sometimes while in prayer, I discover that adjectives do not always adequately describe my Jesus. You’re wonderful, beautiful, precious, altogether lovely, and still I come up short. Have you ever just got before the Lord and wept? 

2 John 1:12 refers to joy in relationships

“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink; but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.” When God’s people get together, joy reigns! Words that we cannot put in letters, on Facebook posts, Twitter, or even Instagram photos pale in comparison to physically getting together. God has designed us to get together with those of like-precious faith. Joy reigns! Why pre-service rally? Why the banana stand? Because our joy needs to be complete. Why do families get together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays? Because they love the joy it brings. Why should Christians regularly, faithfully attend church services? Because church attendance reinforces our joy. 

Luke 15:7 points toward the joy that repentance brings. “And when she had found it, she called her friends and her neighbors together, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.” Sin will cause our joy to be blocked at the throne of God. The psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (66:18). When we repent, we receive fullness of joy. Our joy is once again restored and made complete. Are you walking in joy this morning, or are you sitting here with shame and guilt crowding out your joy walk? Repent and become joy-filled!

 Nehemiah 8:9-10, an often-quoted verse says, “The Joy of the Lord Is my strength.” When you’re down and out, when you’re discouraged, when life hands you a lemon, start praising the Lord and watch as the power of praise restores your joy and makes you strong. Nehemiah testified that after rebuilding and repairing the wall around Jerusalem; after facing off with formidable enemies; after dealing with the politics that go along with most assignments, he said, “The joy of the Lord has been my strength.” He kept his eyes, not on the project, not on the problems, not on the politicians, but on the God of Israel. And he found that joy sustained him during those 52 hard days. Saints of God, as we approach the Election of 2024, let’s hold on to our joy in these days of convoluted ideas and circumstances.  

2 Corinthians 6:10 reminds us to rejoice in our sorrow – not for our sorrows but in our sorrows.

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” I remember when my wife’s parents were killed in an automobile accident in 1995. Both she and I can testify of the Lord’s strength in the midst of sorrow. It was joy that kept us stable and able to cope. I’ve talked with many of you, who also testify that Jesus carried you during times of great loss – the death of loved ones, the loss of jobs, health issues. My friends, joy in the midst of sorrow is one of God’s greatest calling cards and proof that He is faithful.

Psalm 30:5 guarantees joy when you wake up in the morning. “For his anger endures for but a moment; in his favor is life, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Trials come to visit not to stay. Sustaining joy is carrying you now, greater joy lies ahead! 


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