Joy can be described as an emotion of great delight and happiness caused by something exceptionally good and satisfying. Reading the last part of the sentence reminded me of God – He is exceptionally good and He satisfies the hungry soul (Ps 107:9). It is therefore logical to deduct that His character, and knowing Him will cause great delight and happiness!
What’s more – this joy and happiness is called our strength in the Word. Not holiness, or upright living – but JOY. Our strength therefore lies in the gladness living in our hearts due to knowing the true character of God.
“And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Neh 8:10
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Ps 16:11
“Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary.” 1 Chron 16:27
“For You make him to be blessed and a blessing forever; You make him exceedingly glad with the joy of Your presence.” Ps 21:6
“Therefore God, [even] Your God ( Godhead), has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy and gladness above and beyond Your companions.” Heb 1:9
There is so much truth and power in the above mentioned verses. Joy will come as a direct result (i.e. naturally) from an encounter with the true character of God. If you are feeling any other emotion (i.e. burdened, depressed or sorrowful) you are not dealing with the true God. This joy goes far over and above all earthly joy (it exceeds above and beyond our companions). It is heavenly! Spend time with the true God, the good God – and you will experience real, authentic joy.
I want to cringe when people make the Christian life out to be one of sorrows, seriousness and hardships. These people lay a burden on you, making you feel guilty if you are enjoying your walk with God. This perception goes against my experience of God’s heart towards us. I believe He wants us to be happy in His presence, to look forward to every moment spent with Him.
There are quite a few verses to confirm this:
“…in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
“…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10
“…For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Mat 11:30
“Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). ” Rom 5:1
So … don’t let anyone make you feel less worthy if you are loving life and enjoying a relationship with God. There is such great joy and contentment in knowing someone loves to be in your presence – why would it be any different for God? He is happiest when we are in His presence, loving Him. In Luke 10:40 He commended Mary, saying she has chosen the good portion – a life of knowing Him instead of just serving Him.
The benefits of Christ living inside us the moment we are born again are truly boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless (Eph 3:8). It seems as if there is no end to this discovery – what an incredible gift it is! A quick recap:
- Jesus is the Word, so we now contain the truth inside us
- God’s presence inside us causes blessing to be around us
- God’s presence (the secret place) protects us and keeps us safe
God is the source, the author and the creator of all life. He IS life. That means this powerful, situation-changing Life now exists inside us. It is this Life that will change hopeless situations into enriching situations full of possibilities. It is this Life that will breathe new life into dry bones. It is this Life that will heal sickness and take away depression. Any ‘dead’ situation will change because of the life which now exists inside of us.
“And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, presihable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.” Rom 8:11
“And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now posesses) eternal life.” John 3:36
We have already established the following with regards to the fullness of God that lives inside us the moment we are born again:
- The Word of God is contained within you
- The presence of God is within you, and this means blessings will be around you.
The presence of God is also referred to as the ‘secret place’ (see verse below).
“In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from the plots of men;” Ps 31:20
This takes us into a whole new dimension of life. If we dwell in this secret place (God’s presence inside of us), we are promised the following (read the whole Psalm 91 for all of the promises):
– We will remain stable and fixed under God’s protection
– His truth and faithfulness will be our shield
– Even thought ten thousand may fall at our side, no harm shall come to us
– We will be inaccessible in the secret place (presence) of God
– God Himself will deliver us
– He will answer us, be with us in trouble and honor us
– He will satisfy us with a long life and show us His salvation
Wow – that is all I can say. All of these promises are contained within God’s presence, which now lives inside us. Selah.
We have already established that the fullness of God lives inside us the moment we are born again (see previous post). The fullness of God also refers to the presence of God, and the presence of God goes hand in hand with blessings.
We see this in 2 Sameul 6:11-12:
“And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. And it was told King David, The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.”
The ark of the Lord represents His presence in the Old Testament. Wherever it went, blessings followed. The same can be said of His presence today (His character remains unchanged) – the presence which now abides in us. Therefore we can expect supernatural blessings to follow us, and everyone close to us – even all items that belongs to us. We now contain the presence of God, we are His temple!
“For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” 2 Cor 6:16
If we try to change our lives by looking at our flaws and trying to eliminate them ourselves, we will become frustrated. It is the same as going to a pear tree, and being angry at it for not producing apples. By picking each pear you will not be changing the tree into an apple tree – you will just be wasting your time. Each new season it will continue bearing pears – the whole root system and nature of the tree needs to change in order to produce apples.
The same principle applies to our spiritual life. When we are born again, something really amazing happens. We become born of the spirit, meaning our nature changes completely. We are no longer subject to the flesh – but we become a new spirit man.
“What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6
The nature of the spiritual man bears spiritual fruit. It is effortless – just as easy as it is for an apple tree to bear apples. It is in it’s nature. We don’t even have to struggle and strive to accomplish it – the Word says it is the Spirit that brings forth the fruit. All we need to do is believe – and live in a relationship with Him.
“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness…” Gal 5:22