True Joy: Joy in the Lord!

Every person born into this world wants joy. It belongs to life just the same as daily bread. Both body and soul become healthy through joy. The old, profound quote from Augustine was, is, and remains true: “A person nourishes himself through that which pleases the soul. The human soul bound for eternity experiences a hunger for joy that is even stronger than a deer panting for fresh water.” Millions of people have this longing in their soul.

Even in Christian circles, we seldom find joyful people, people who joyfully share the Gospel and are true followers of Christ! “More joy, more joy!” This is the call and also the request that Christianity is challenged with. The Bible reminds us over and over again to have joy. Zinzendorf so rightly stated and admonished: “Christianity desires nothing more than joyful Christians.” Ultimately, Christians are the only people who should know, have, and be able to share this true, deep, enduring joy, for the Gospel is the source and the message of great joy. True, genuine Christians should always be joyful people and should share joy with others. Therefore, this serious admonition is directed first of all to the children of God: “Rejoice always”   (1 Thessalonians 5:16)!

Joy is living balsam for the body and the soul. A writer defines this perfectly: If one searched the entire universe to cure many a sickness, there would be only one remedy: a golden cup of joy!

Joy makes one healthy, increases creativeness, brings happiness, and impels action. Joy gives a deep sense of satisfaction, it permits thankfulness. Joy is not a disposition, mood or mere humor; it is not a fleeting selfish feeling, not a careless optimism, nor sentimentality. No, joy is strength and peace. Joy is droplets from God’s eternal blessedness. Joy is health, a gift from God, and joy gives happiness. Joy is the keynote of the Gospel. Joy tunes the heart strings to a deep feeling of gratitude. 

If we would contemplate the many Bible passages regarding joy – there are more than one hundred – it is as if we would hear the angel on the plains of Bethlehem on that first Christmas night saying: “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” It is as if we would be hearing the trustworthy ring of the gospel bells, carrying the message from country to country, from nation to nation, from heart to heart, to all ends of the earth saying: “Joy to all nations!” It also is as if we were hearing the singers and witnesses of all time singing about joy: Paul, Luther, Paul Gerhardt, and right into our time, the jubilating testimonies of joyful Christians. 

If we would listen for the great song of praise, the stars in the dark night would be cheering the wonderful God and Lord; the springtime would be singing; creation would be praising Him; the Church of God from the entire world and nations would be joining in the worship in their languages. Yes, as if we would be hearing the redeemed souls singing the great “Hallelujah” on the crystal sea!

Greater and deeper joy! We want to pray for this joy to become apparent in our home, our family, in our circle of friends and neighbors. How the faces will shine and lose their gloom when the sun of joy will greet them! Let there be more joy in our Christian circles. Let there not be a tone of a superficial, frivolous, and facetious atmosphere, which can easily crowd out the Holy Spirit, who should be living among us. No, instead let the genuine gospel joy be that with which true Christians will greet one another and delight, comfort, encourage, and help one another. More joy towards the songs and in singing, more joy when listening to the sermon, more joy towards Christians and among Christians! May no one who visits and sits among us ever carry a quiet, inner longing for joy and then leave our congregation with the accusation, as Nietzsche put it: “You Christians must look more joyful as the redeemed through Christ if I am supposed to believe in your Savior.”

Let us carry more joy into the homes of the ungodly, lonely, abandoned, and widows—in the hearts of those who have been disappointed, in the lives of those who have turned bitter, to the bedside of the sick, and on the streets of the wretched. Everybody ought to know that we are truly serving the Lord joyfully!

We need more joy in our personal lives. An ill-tempered, grumbling, shady so-called Christianity exists. Sincere, searching souls will flee from this type. Christianity that lacks joy and only follows rules is not real Christianity. One who nourishes his soul daily from the strengthening fountain of life, the Gospel, will be a joyful Christian. Pray daily for a joyful spirit. 

Let others partake of your joy daily. Give joy to others. We will experience a joyful heart by sharing joy with others. Nourish your soul daily at the fountain of joy. This will all lead to a calm happiness in your faith. Joy is the hidden chime in your soul which makes every day a Sunday. Christians are people who can make it easier for others to believe in God by letting joy beam from their eyes and hearts. Therefore, serve the Lord with gladness, and always be joyful!

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