There were many people who were looking for the Messiah! Simeon and Anna praised and blessed God. The shepherds believed when the angels appeared and told them about Jesus.
There was sickness and death and cruelty and injustice in the world when Jesus, the Messiah, came to earth. He provided a hope, and a peace, and a joy to those who accepted him.
Acts 8 – There was great joy in that city.
1 John 1 – And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
What is this Joy? How can we find it and experience it?
Both of these things are preferred as opposed to other options. But earthly happiness is not Christian joy. Christian joy is a deep emotion.
Earthly happiness is more superficial and on the surface. Christian joy is the result of a changed heart. It wells up within us from a spiritual source.
Earthly happiness depends on events and things around us. Christian joy grows with our familiarity with God and the closer we grow to God, the greater we’ll find our Christian joy.
Joy is part of the fruits of the spirit. It is intended to be part of the Christian experience. It is a gauge that says something about how our Christian life is going.
Discouragement and despondency can eat away our enthusiasm for life. It can affect our walk with God too. The joy of the Lord can, and does, strengthen us, and brings us more joy!
The Psalmist trusted God and trusted God. He was helped by God. His joy increased and his faith increased.
If Paul and Silas had been crying, sobbing, and moaning… the other prisoners would have been less impressed with them and with their God.
Christians don’t always feel joyful. Is that a problem? Sometimes there is a confusion between faith and feeling. Christians are subject to the same emotions as anyone else, they can feel joy, anger, sadness, etc. We aren’t programmed to only express joy once we are converted.
Emotions other than joy may come to the forefront of how we are feeling and they can sort of dominate where we are.
Psalm 42:11 – We may be feeling sad and discouraged at some point, but if we are truly Christ’s disciples and are devoted to Him there is something there that a non-Christian may not have.
Philippians 3 – Joyful followers of Christ pursue Christ. Paul’s goal was pursuing Christ, the person of Christ, not pursuing joy. We can do things, and listen to music, or be in a situation where our hearts are stirred but our spirit not be touched.
Those who pursue Jesus are committed to Him. It’s not just a trial commitment, it is a forever commitment. As we pursue Christ let us express our praise and adoration.
Those who pursue Christ feed on the living bread. Reading the Bible and praying are practical things that help draw us closer to Christ.
When Jesus calls “come and follow Me” He means more than “let’s be friends” He is calling us to be more like Him, to become like Him. True disciples desire to please Him, walking by faith, and obeying Christ.
Joyful Christians pursue service to others. Paul says that we should look at Jesus and have the same attitude that He did. He took upon himself the form of a servant.
The world is packed with people who are pursuing joy and happiness in their own way. They may all have fun and enjoyment, but they’ll not experience the joy of Jesus apart from Jesus.