As Christians, we’re supposed to live joyfully. We have every reason to! God did so much when He saved us.
Yet, so many Christians plod through life, looking at all the negatives with a woe is me attitude. “Poor me! The Christian life is hard! Look at how they persecute me. Look at all the bad people. I have such a fight to do right. No one suffers like I do.” And all along, the Bible urges us to be joyful in the Lord. The men who wrote the Bible were persecuted, martyred, and imprisoned. Still, they were joyful.
I’d like to share with you just a few of the verses about joy. As you read them, think about how they apply to your life. (Emphasis mine.)
- Peter, on the day of Pentecost, quoted the Psalmist David, Thou (God) hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance (Acts 2:28).
- After persecution and not being accepted in the city, the disciples shook the dust of the city off their feet. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:52).
- The Apostle Paul knows, through the witness of the Holy Spirit, that bonds and afflictions await him. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might 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 20:23-24).
- Paul blesses the Christians in Rome: 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).
- Paul thanks God for faithful Christians in Corinth, even in the midst of trials, Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation (2 Corinthians 7:4).
- Paul prays for the Philippian church with joy in his heart. Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy (Philippians 1:4).
- Paul prays that the Christians in the church at Colossae would be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:11).
- Peter speaks of the early church’s faith in Jesus, 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).
- Peter wanted the new church to have the right picture when it came to persecution: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:13).
All of us can use an infusion of joy. It comes from a right relationship with Jesus Christ, accepting what happens as His will, and looking at the bigger picture. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14b). Our sure hope is about eternity—a place in heaven forever. This life is short. We want to live it to please God and share Jesus with others.
People notice when Christians are joyful in their day-to-day living. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance (Psalm 89:15). When Christians walk . . . in the light of God, they show it on their faces. Even when they go through trials (as we saw in some of the verses above) Christians can have joy, because they know that trials are temporary. What matters most is eternal.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of that perspective.
From a jail in Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote:
Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice.