God wants you to be joyful
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the example of Jesus. Galatians 5 says that joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit and Jesus is the perfect example of being Spirit filled. That makes Jesus best example of someone who’s joyful.
My brother in law’s family came to visit recently. His family have had different foster kids in their home. The kids are always a blast to get to know because it can be quite an adventure when, just like in the church, you meet strangers and you’re expected to treat them like family! And you always have to wonder what the background of these kids is, because of the things they say. My wife told this little boy of 5 years old that she had to go to the bank and his first response was, “Don’t rob it!” To which she replied, “Oh, ok! I guess I won’t.” Later on she got back from the bank and said, “Well, I took your advice and didn’t rob the bank.” “Good for you!” That’s telling about what that little guy has seen and the example that his family of origin has set for him. In the family of the Christian faith, we get to grow up around Jesus our example, the author and perfecter of our faith.
1) Jesus was joyful because that was his divine nature
Psalm 45:7 says that Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God set him above his fellows by anointing him with the oil of joy. There has never been a more joyful person than Jesus Christ. How do we know that? Because, Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his nature.”
It may surprise you to learn that God is full of joy. We know that because the fruit of the Spirit, the manifestation of God in us, is joy and because all throughout the Bible we find God taking joy in Israel, in Jesus, in those whom he loves. God is not the bummer we may have thought he was! In fact, he’s the one that both organizes the party and arrives turning water into wine, which is symbolic of joy. That’s his nature and it was Jesus’ nature, more than all of his “fellows.”
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2) Jesus was joyful because he was given joy
But what made Jesus so incredibly joyful? Maybe that could give us a clue about what would make us joyful! One reason is because he was given joy, just like you and I were when we gave our lives to God. He was anointed with it as the above Psalm said! Look at Isaiah 11:1-3a about Jesus, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.” Jesus delighted in what he was given, he was given the Spirit, the same Spirit that you and I are given, the same Spirit that bears its fruit of joy in our lives.
3) Jesus was joyful because of what he took delight in
If you are in Jesus, then like Jesus, you have been anointed with joy. It’s in you and it’s alive and it is delighting in the things that God delights in.
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Like Christ your spirit delights in the fear of the Lord and delights in righteousness. Like Christ in Psalm 119:16 you delight in the way of the Lord. You delight in his Word. I know you resonate with that child of God, because you’ve been given joy. Now you delight in things that the rest of the world thinks you’re insane to take joy in. You find light and love and life in the Bible, don’t you? And it does your heart good when you choose righteousness, even when it’s hard, doesn’t it?
The source of our joy
Oswald Chambers said,
“The joy that Jesus exhibited in His life was in knowing that every power of His nature was in harmony with His Father’s nature, therefore He did with delight what God designed Him for as Son of Man. Anything that exactly fulfills the purpose of its creation experiences joy, and our joy is that we fulfill the purpose of God in our lives by being saints.”
We experience joy when we experience the things of God, but we have the most joy about God himself. Like it says in Psalm 43:3-4, “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.” It doesn’t say, “I will go to God with joy and delight,” it says, “I will go to God who is my joy and delight.” This is key!
What we pursue makes all the difference
The American is trained from the cradle that he or she has the inalienable right to pursue happiness. When an American begins to follow Jesus, they need to undergo a major change in their view on this. They may first choose to replace the word happiness for joy, but they’re not synonyms at all. Or they may choose to pursue joy by means of being a Christian, but that’s seeking the result and not the cause. Soon learn that when God plays house, he may play the wise Father, the active Son or the nurturing type, but never the butler. He won’t be used as a means to an end.
So, we come to discover that joy isn’t the goal at all, nor is it even something that we should be pursuing, but it’s something that our being given the entirety of God’s nature, results in.
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Our goal is not happiness, not joy, nor any of the blessings that he gives, but…God…himself…. And guess what? On the deepest level, in the marrow, in the breath and blood of us, we are overjoyed…in God….