"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" Psalm 89:15,16.
"Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart" Psalm 97:11.
"I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" John 8:12.
"I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you" John 16:22.
"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" 2 Corinthians 6:10.
A father will always be eager to see his children joyful. He does all that he can to make them happy. Likewise, God also desires that His children should walk before Him with a joyful heart. He has promised them joy--He will give it.1 He has commanded it--we must take it and walk in it at all times.2
The reason for this is not difficult to find. Joy is always the evidence that something really satisfies me and has great value for me. Joy, more than anything else, recommends its cause to others. And joy in God is the strongest proof that I have in God what satisfies and satiates me. It shows that I do not serve Him with dread, or remain faithful only because He is my salvation. Joy is the mark of the truth, the worth of obedience, and shows whether I have pleasure in the will of God.3 It is for this reason that joy in God is so acceptable to Him, so strengthening to believers themselves and to all who are exposed to the most eloquent testimony of what we think of God.4
In the Scriptures, light and joy are frequently connected with each other.5 It is so in nature. The joyful light of the morning awakens the birds to their song and gladdens the watchers who, in the darkness, have longed for the day. It is the light of God's countenance that gives the Christian his joy. In fellowship with his Lord, he can, and always will, be happy. The love of the Father shines like the sun on His children.6 When darkness comes over the soul, it is always through one of two things--through sin or through unbelief. Sin is darkness and makes life dark. Unbelief also makes life dark, for it turns us from Him, who alone is the light.
The question is sometimes asked, "Can the Christian always walk in the light?" The answer of our Lord is clear, "He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness." It is sin, the turning from Jesus to our own way, that makes darkness. But at the moment we confess sin, and have it cleansed in the blood, we are again in the light.
Other times it is unbelief that causes darkness. When we look to ourselves and our strength, when we seek comfort in our own feelings, or our own works, then all becomes dark. As soon as we look to Jesus, to the fullness--the perfect provision for our needs that is in Him--all is light. He says, "I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." So long as I believe, I have light and joy.8
Christians, who want to walk according to the will of the Lord, hear what His Word says, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I will say, Rejoice."9 In the Lord Jesus there is unspeakable joy--full of glory. Believing in Him, rejoice in this. Live the life of faith. That life is salvation and glorious joy. A heart that gives itself undividedly to follow Jesus, that lives by faith in Him and His love, will have light and joy. Therefore, soul, only believe. Do not seek joy--in that case you will not find it, because you are seeking feeling. But seek Jesus, follow Jesus, believe in Jesus, and joy will be given to you. "Ye see him not, yet believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8).
Lord Jesus, You are the Light of the world, the radiance of the unapproachable light, in whom we see the light of God. From Your countenance radiates upon us the illumination of the knowledge of the love and glory of God. And You are ours, our light and our salvation. Teach us to believe more firmly that with You we can never walk in the darkness. Let joy in You be the proof that You are all to us and our strength to do all that You would have us do. Amen.
1) Ps. 89:16,17; Isa. 29:19; John 16:22; I Pet. 1:8
2) Ps. 32:11; Isa. 12:5,6; 1 Thess. 5:16; Phil. 4:4
3) Deut. 28:47; Ps. 11:9; 119:1l
4) Neh. 8:11; Ps. 68:4; Prov. 4:18
5) Esth. 8:16; Prov. 13:9; 15:30; Isa. 60:20
6) Ex. 10:23; 2 Sam. 23:4; Ps. 36:10; Isa. 60:1,20; 1 John 1:5; 4:16
7) Josh 7:13; Isa. 58:10; 59:1,2,9; Matt. 15:14,16; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:8,14; I Thess. 5:5; 1 John 2:10
8) John 12:36; 11:40; Rom. 15:13; 1 Pet. 1:3
9) Phil. 3:1; 4:4
1. The joy that I have in anything is the measure of its worth in my eyes--the joy in a person is the measure of my pleasure in him; the joy in a work is the measure of my pleasure in it. Joy in God and His service is one of the surest signs of a healthy spiritual life.
2. Joy is hindered by ignorance, when we do not understand God and His love and the blessedness of His service. Joy is hindered by unbelief, when we still seek something in our own strength or feeling. Joy is also hindered by double-heartedness, when we are not willing to give up and lay aside everything for Jesus.
3. Understand this saying, "He that seeks gladness shall not find it; he that seeks the Lord and His will, shall find gladness unsought." Think this over. He who seeks joy as a thing of feeling, seeks himself. He who wants happiness will not find it. He who forgets himself to live in the Lord and His will, will be taught of himself to rejoice in the Lord. It is God, God Himself, who is the God of the joy of our gladness. Seek God and you will have joy. You have then simply to take and enjoy it by faith.
4. To thank God much for what He is and does, to believe much in what God says and will do, is the way to continual joy.
5. "The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart" (Prove 15:30). God has not intended that His children should walk in the darkness. Satan is the prince of the darkness. God is light. Christ is the light of the world. We are children of the light, so let us walk in the light. Let us believe in the promise, "The Lord shall be to thee an everlasting light. Thy sun shall no more go down; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended" (Isa. 60:19,20).
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