26 Put joy into your life

Encouragement for difficult days (26):

PUT JOY INTO YOUR LIFE

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

John 15:11 

Evangelist D.L. Moody encouraged Christian joy. Once, in a meeting, he said “There are too many religious meetings which are sadder than a funeral. They are a hindrance to the cause. They breed people with face bearing an expression as chilling as an east wind from off the lake.”

Anyone who knows Chicago, where D.L. Moody was from, knows about that chilly eastern wind. And what Moody said is true – the greatest obstacle to sinners coming to Christ is the joyless attitude of many professed Christians.

There is a difference between being serious and being solemn. God wants us to be serious, but I don’t know of any place in the Bible where He commands us to solemn, to have a long face and miserable look that means death to all who are happy and joyful around us. A missionary executive once said that he would not never send a missionary to the field if the man or woman didn’t have a sense of humor. To be able to laugh at yourself and the world around you, to be able to laugh with others, is a mark of maturity.

People who don’t laugh are usually bitter and critical and hard to live with. The man that can’t laugh at his own mistakes has a hard time forgiving the mistakes of others. He harbors them down inside and they fester like an open sore. Nothing clears the air in a home or a church meeting like a good healthy laugh. I’m not talking about silly comedy, but a good healthy holy humor.

Jesus wants us to have joy. He had joy. See the scripture verse above. If the disciples had never seen Jesus smile or laugh, they would have wondered what kind of joy He was talking about. Yes, He was a man of sorrows, but He was also a man of joy. And the only way to have true joy is to get it from Jesus Christ. You can go to the shop and purchase fun, but you can’t purchase joy. Jesus purchased it for you when He died for you on the cross.

Perhaps the greatest joy chapter in the Bible is Luke 15. There a woman finds her lost coin and rejoices, a shepherd finds his lost sheep and rejoices, a father welcomes his lost son and rejoices. All of them invite their friends and neighbours to rejoice with them. Jesus says that even the angels rejoice when a sinner comes home aand is forgiven. The first step toward joy is to receive Christ as your Saviour., When you do this, the Spirit of God moves into your life and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace….” (Galatians 5:22).

The Christian has good reason to be joyful. We have been forgiven all our sins. Yet, some times we find that Christians have lost their joy. What can cause this? When you know what the cause is, you can know how to fix it….

1.       Sin and disobedience to God

When David confessed his sins to God, he said “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation” (Psalms 51:12). David lost his joy, and for a year or more he lived under a dark cloud of despair and gloom. He became like an old, sick man because his conscience was smiting him. When we come back to God, He can restore us and give our joy back.

2.       Neglecting the Word of God

The prophet Jeremiah found joy in the Word of God. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16). It is good to read the Bible every day. If you ask God to speak to you, He will do so through His holy Word. Reading the Bible can increase your joy. Neglect it, and your joy will diminish.

3.       Forgetting to pray

Jesus said “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24.) If you and I depend on our own resources, we will be miserable, because our own resources are weak and limited. Prayers open the treasury of God. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (Matthew 7:7), and  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. “ (James 4:2). Let us notGod wants to bestow upon us, including joy.

Finally, let us follow God’s Word when Paul says “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4). Beware of the wicked one trying to lure us away from God, and let us watch our attitude, especially towards God. A life of walking close to God is a life filled of joy…

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