Joy Overflowing

What is it?

What are the distinguishing marks of joy? Is it an emotional high or something we can produce on demand? No. Joy is something that the Spirit gives, and therefore the flesh cannot manipulate or imitate it. Joy is an intense, deep, and abiding satisfaction in the sovereignty and goodness of God. Joy is praise. Though the unbeliever can experience some kinds of earthly joy as the result of God’s common grace to all men, it is not the same as the joy of the Lord. It is a shallow, worldly joy that is based on changing circumstances. The joy of the Lord is a gift of the Spirit. Let’s examine some of the Scriptures that relate to joy and rejoicing.

Who should rejoice?

All the righteous. As far as I can see, there are no exceptions. What a blessed commandment for us to obey.

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name by joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:11-12).

“Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright” (Psalm 33:1).

“But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice” {Psalm 68:3).

All of creation rejoices:

“Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth” (Psalm 96:11-13).

Where do we find it? 

God Himself rejoices: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). 

We find joy in the presence of God, in His Word, in our salvation.

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). 

 “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). 

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-3). 

“Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:10). 

“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou are the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted” (Psalm 89:15-17).

“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Psalm 119:111).

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).

“Rejoicing in hope” (Romans 12:12).

“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6).

When are we to rejoice? 

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). 

“Rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:20).

 “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Who gives us joy? 

Of course, God gives us joy by means of His Holy Spirit. Christ gives us His joy. We have joy in Christ. God is our joy. 

“Now may 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). 

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:10-11). 

“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13).

“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: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1: 8-9). 

“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God” (Psalm 43:4). 

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24).  

Curse for disobedience:

The Israelites were scattered in the wilderness for their murmuring. God wants His people to serve Him joyfully, and He has given us so much to rejoice in. No wonder He will not tolerate joylessness.

 “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things” (Deut. 28:47).

We find joy in tribulation: 

We have joy in trials because we rest in God’s sovereignty, and He remains the same, regardless of our circumstances. 

“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). 

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:10-12). 

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; know this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2-3). 

We find joy in the saints and joy in our children:

Just as we are to love God and love our neighbor, so we are to joy in God and in our fellow Christians, especially our own husbands and children.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing: Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 19-20). 

“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved” (Philippians 4:1). 

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). 

Joy in the home: 

Our homes should reflect the joy we have in God. We should view our husbands and children as our joy and crown. You’ve heard the old saying that when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Women have a duty to be joyful in their homes, making them cheery, loving, and pleasant, an oasis for their families and friends. A home that is dreary, drab, or sullen is not worthy of the joy of the gospel. 

“The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly” (Psalm 118:15).

Lovemaking is rejoicing:

God has called the marriage bed honorable; it is to be characterized by rejoicing. But if there is joylessness in the rest of the home, there will be no joy here either. 

 “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love” (Proverbs 5:18-19). 

What hinders joy?

When we sin, God has made provision for us in Christ so that we can confess our sin and be restored to the joy of the Lord. But we put off confessing our sins for many reasons. And once we let a few accumulate, it gets harder and harder to sort it all out. Here are a few common excuses we use to put off confessing our sins:

I will do it later.

But I’m justified in my sin. I want to wallow in it and feel miserable for a while first.It’s not that bad.

I don’t want to admit I was wrong.

I’m too embarrassed to confess.   But he was wrong too.I don’t think it was really sin, just a mistake.

Whatever the excuse, unconfessed sin not only makes us miserable ourselves, it also makes us miserable to be with. Sin is irrational, so don’t try to figure it out. Just confess it, thank God for forgiveness and rejoice in the Lord. He loves to forgive us; He loves to bestow His mercy on us. So there is no reason for us to wait.

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2 thoughts on “Joy Overflowing

  1. It doesn’t use the word “rejoice,” but my favorite “joy in the saints” verse is Psalm 16:3 — “As for the saints who are on the earth, ‘They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.'”

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