Joy Beyond Amazing

Joy Beyond Amazing

David JeremiahBy David Jeremiah4 Minutes

One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail. They were beaten; they were imprisoned; and who knew what would happen to them the next day? “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).

The kind of joy that gets you singing in jail at midnight with your back bleeding and your life hanging by a thread that’s joy worth cultivating!

In our culture of instant gratification and constant amusement, it’s hard to understand the suffering the apostles endured for the sake of the Gospel. We’ll do anything to avoid trials and tribulations.

But often, in an attempt to keep anything uncomfortable from touching us, we miss the very thing God wants to use to lead us to greater joy in Him. We can’t avoid difficulties, but in the midst of all our troubles, there is God and His effervescent love.

This doesn’t mean we are to deny or disguise our feelings. Nor does it mean we can or should shrug off pain or disappointment, or try not to feel sorrow when we have good cause. It means we place our trust in God, and He opens the door to a joy beyond anything we can know on our own: the joy of knowing we are in His hands forever.

Our Joyful Savior

When we’re in a right relationship with God, He rejoices. And it’s only through that relationship that we experience joy in its fullness.

Jesus was completely comfortable at joyous events. In fact, Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding celebration. It was performed in a setting of rejoicing, not a setting of mourning; it was a wedding, not a wake or a funeral.

Throughout the New Testament, the Lord generously imparted His joy to others. One day He healed a crippled woman. She stood straight up and began praising the Lord (Luke 13:13). The Samaritan leper healed by Jesus returned to thank him, “praising God in a loud voice” (Luke 17:15 NIV). When the lame man at the Beautiful Gate was healed, he got up and went into the temple, “walking, leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8).

We must get better at living life joyously!

Describing joyous moments like these, Paul wrote: “The kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17) Many Christians have the righteousness part down and maybe even the peace part. But they’re clueless when it comes to joy. Instead of enjoying the Christian life, they seem to merely endure it.

The Day God Has Made

I speak for many who are Christ-followers: We must get better at living life joyously! Jesus experienced and expressed joy in life, and so should we.

When I wake up in the morning, I often repeat these words of the psalmist, taking liberty to replace we with I: “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Try it. Write down this verse, and keep it by your bed so it’s the first thing you see in the morning. Say it aloud or in your heart to yourself and to God.

Trust me. This one small act will begin opening your heart to joy.