Submitted by Pastor Richard Boettner, Rock Port Baptist Church

This week we will look at the topic of JOY in this column. I hope if you are feeling joy today you will find this enhancing your joy. If you are not so joyful, perhaps some Scripture will help you know, understand, and experience joy even in a difficult time.

In Nehemiah 8:10 we read, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

1) Joy can be defined as an enduring satisfaction and gladness in heart and mind from God. In other words, joy is much more than temporary excitement found in pleasant circumstances. In particular in the New Testament, joy is found when we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and find His redemption and restoration in all of life’s circumstances.

2) Joy can be enhanced if we realize that we need to stay in God’s goodness and grace, and fully engage in whatever work He has called us to do. Joy is also described as occurring even more after times of grief or weeping as God restores us. For example in Psalm 30:5 we read, “weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

3) During hard times we should seek perseverance and even humility to ask others for assistance. That should start by asking God for help through prayer, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Often God uses others to boost our strength and increase that inner joy that He can give. Don’t isolate too long if you are finding joy difficult. Seek God, and seek people who will understand and sympathize with your situation.

4) Joy can never be completely found in this life because we are headed for an ultimate destiny with God in heaven. Many Scriptures remind us of this such as Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

5) Joy can also be enhanced by obeying Jesus. Consider His words in John 15:10,11, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete.”

6) Finally, stay active in your local church or fellowship and notice how your joy can increase. This is certainly the motivation of so many passages such as Philippians 2:2, “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” How much better our spiritual lives would be if we go to church to give, not receive, to share joy with others and not complain, to focus on what is working not on what isn’t, to be like-minded and united, not divided.

Lord, give us JOY!