Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


The Joy of the Lord
Pastor Steve Schell
Joy is something every person on earth longs for. Without joy the most successful person finds their achievements empty. But when the heart is full of joy even the most difficult circumstances seem miraculously transformed into opportunities. What is this mysterious emotion we call “joy”? Why is something so important to us so hard to define? And why is it so difficult to hold on to? Like a vapor it slips out of our grasp leaving us dutifully plodding through each day. Yet Jesus very clearly states that He wants His followers to be filled with joy. It should be a distinguishing mark on all believers. When people think of Christians, words like love, faith and joy should come to mind. Yet many of us, though we deeply believe in Him and love Him, find joy elusive. The challenges of life seem to drain away joy. But God has made it possible for us to live lives full of abundance, especially an abundance of joy. So let’s open the Word and discover how.


A. Jesus wants us to have joy
“These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (Jn 15:11).
• Abide, obey, bear fruit, love one another, pray in faith
• Joy made full: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:26-30)
• “They may have My joy made full in themselves” (Jn 17:13)

B. Joy is the feeling of being normal
• We are not meant to live with moments of relief breaking into long seasons of quiet desperation.
• We were made for Him and will always feel empty away from Him (Ge 3)
• Sin has separated us and left us “abnormal” (“naked”)

C. Joy is being “happy” in God
Some say the Lord’s joy isn’t happiness, it isn’t an emotion. Then I say, “What good is it?” Joy without happiness is like salt without savor, like water that doesn’t quench your thirst. I need an antidote for sadness.
• The fact is the joy of the Lord is a happy emotion, but it differs from worldly joy because it’s not dependant upon conditions in this world. It’s founded on spiritual realities, so it’s always available to us.
• The unbeliever’s joy is found in God’s material blessings.
• The believer’s joy is produced within by the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21; Ro 14:17; Gal 5:22; 1Th 1:6).

D. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Ne 8:10)
• The opposite of joy is depression
• When we are joyful we have:
- Energy
- Creativity
- Outgoing personalities
- Generosity
• We clean the house, we repair things, we call people we haven’t talked to…

E. We find God’s joy in ways that are opposite to the world
• “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mk 8:35)
• Joy is what happens when I lose myself:
- In worshipping God
- In letting God’s love flow through me in service to others
- In being joined with Christ in His suffering
- In praying a seeing God’s miraculous answer

F. Losing myself in worship
• Joy is a by-product of worship, not its goal
• I stop looking at myself, stop seeking my own good
• Psalm 16:11
• We yearn for unity with God
• Worldly worship: doing things to make God happy so He’ll bless me
• Biblical worship: returning to the One who made me for Himself (in His image)

The practice of worship:
• Awaken the body (praise): sing boldly what you don’t feel, till you feel it.
• Awaken the mind (thanks): remember what you’ve forgotten.
• Awaken the heart (love): let your whole being be reunited with Him (in loving abandon we offer Him again the Lordship of our lives; Ro 12:1)

In the “anointing” (the tangible presence of God) we are transformed:
• Strength (Isa 40:29-31)
• Gladness (Isa 61:3)
• Fullness (Psa 16:11)

G. Questions
• Describe how you feel when you have the “joy of the Lord.”
• How do you restore your joy when you feel low?


 


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