Not being able in my lifetime, to cover all words that pertain to the life of a Christian, I will continue as the Lord leads in this series Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian.
A few days ago, when I asked a young sister-in-Christ what I could pray for, she spoke this simple word ~ JOY. And so, we will share what the Word of God says about this precious word describing the nature and the fruit of His children.
JOY is recorded 187 times in the Bible. You can find them here. We will only highlight certain references.
There are many ~ too many and varied ~ definitions for joy in Hebrew and Greek for me to list but you can find them here.
In the Old Testament, joy is referred to as the sound of lifting the voice in 1 Chronicles 15:16 as singers with instruments were appointed for worship.
“O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1
“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” Psalm 5:11
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”
Isaiah 35:10 speaks of “the ransomed who return to Zion with songs and everlasting joy and gladness.”
“Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.” Isaiah 52:9
Joy from the heart produces rejoicing (1 Chronicles 29:9).
“For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20
“Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11
Jeremiah 15:16 speaks of God’s Word as the joy and rejoicing of the heart.
True joy has always been associated with the Lord. It is a heavenly gift known only to His people.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Joy is in the Lord and in His salvation.
“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation. Psalm 35:9”
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Joy is often learned and experienced more during or after a time of trial. Difficulties are the means of the Lord planting within us the seed of joy that springs up as it is watered by our tears. Joy may never be known except we go through the dark times. Even His chastisement produces the end result of His joy in us.
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5
“The meek and the poor rejoice in the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:19
Jesus promised His disciples they would be sorrowful at His death.
“ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20
All of the Lord’s blessings ~ “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness are appointed for His people. that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; James 1:2
Jesus taught that those who are persecuted for the Lord’s sake are to “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:23
Paul was “exceeding joyful in all his tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 7:4
Nothing moved Paul, but he was determined to “finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
Paul spoke of the churches in Macedonia ministering to the saints in Jerusalem.
“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” 2 Corinthians 8:2
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
Hebrews 10:34 speaks of those who “took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”
In Proverbs 12:20 joy is related to peace.
Zephaniah 3:17 speaks of the Lord’s salvation and His rejoicing over His people.
“He will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
I often wondered why Paul listed the fruit of the Spirit in its order ~ love, then joy, then peace. Joy must be the fruit that comes through God’s love for us.
In Matthew 28:8 fear is mixed with great joy.
“Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:7
John the Baptist’s joy was fulfilled because he was the friend of Jesus, the bridegroom.” John 3:29
Jesus’ joy was promised to His disciples.
“These things have I spoken unto you,
that my joy might remain in you,
and that your joy might be full.”
“Your heart shall rejoice, your joy that no man taketh from you.” John 16:22
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24
“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13
At His ascension, Jesus’ disciples “worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:” Luke 24:52
Paul spoke of our “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11
Our pastor often reminds us of the nature of God’s kingdom.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
“And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 13:52
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13
“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”
“The good and faithful servant will enter into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:8
What a blessed promise of the joy that awaits us in the presence of His glory.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory
with exceeding joy,”
Dear Father, we praise you that you sent your joy to us in Jesus your Son. Thank you, Jesus, that you sent your Holy Spirit to work this joy in us as proof that we belong to you. Holy Spirit, continue to work your power, bearing the fruit of the life of Christ in us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.