The Birth of Joy
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-9
Key Verse: Psalm 96:11
Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout His praise!
In two different letters to the churches of the Apostle Paul’s day, he commanded the Christ-followers to “Rejoice always”.
The first letter was to the Philippian church:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again— rejoice! (Philippians 4:4).
The second letter was to the Thessalonica church:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Anyone who says that “joy” and “happiness” are the same are going to find these two verses impossible to live out. Do you know anyone who is happy all the time, never having moments of sadness or anger? The truth is no one is going to be happy all the time in this world we live in.
However, as Christ-followers, we can always live with a sense of satisfaction that God forgives us of our sins and we are on our way to an eternal life with God Himself. That is true joy!
In analyzing the Apostle’s words in these two letters, I have the opinion that He believes that Christ-followers can pray about all the things that make us unhappy and trust that God is wise enough and loving enough to give us exactly what we need.
I often say to myself “if I don’t have it, I don’t need it”. This is my way of saying that I believe God gives me all I need to live this life in victory and with joy.
When there is something I want, I ask my “good, good Father” to grant it to me – if it fits into His will for my life. If He grants it to me, I rejoice. If He does not grant it to me, I do my best to rejoice, knowing He is much wiser than I am in knowing what I need.
A good question to ask at this point in this devotional is: “are all these instructions about joy from an old, retired preacher?”. The answer to that is “no”.
Look at the last phrase in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
God had a goal, a mission in mind when He sent Jesus to earth. God wanted His children, those that believe in Jesus, to live an abundant life; one filled with joy, this is God’s will.
Father, I don’t deserve the new mercies you give me every day, but I will never stop praising you for them. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.