I have recently been pondering the subject of joy. I came across a sermon from Charles Spurgeon addressing this topic. It was such an encouragement that I want to share a few parts of it here:
“‘Rejoice in the Lord,’ says the apostle. In the first place, this is a very delightful thing. What a gracious God we serve, who makes delight to be a duty, and who commands us to rejoice! Should we not at once be obedient to such a command as this? It is intended that we should be happy. That is the meaning of the precept, that we should be cheerful; more than that, that we should be thankful; more than that, that we should rejoice. I think this word “rejoice” is almost a French word; it is not only joy, but it is joy over again, re-joice. You know re usually signifies the reduplication of a thing, the taking it over again. We are to joy, and then we are to re-joy.
You are commanded to rejoice, brethren, because this is for your profit. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labour. Holy joy will beautify you, and, as I have already said, give you an influence over the lives of others. It is upon this point that I would most of all insist, we are commanded to rejoice in the Lord. If you cannot speak the gospel, live the gospel by your cheerfulness; for what is the gospel? Glad tidings of great joy; and you who believe it must show by its effect upon you that it is glad tidings of great joy to you.
Sometimes, brethren and sisters, you cannot rejoice in anything else, but you can rejoice in the Lord; then, rejoice in Him to the full. Do not rejoice in your temporal prosperity, for riches take to themselves wings, and fly away. Do not rejoice even in your great successes in the work of God. Remember how the seventy disciples came back to Jesus, and said, ‘Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name,’ and he answered, ‘Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.’ Do not rejoice in your privileges; I mean, do not make the great joy of your life to be the fact that you are favoured with this and that external privilege or ordinance, but rejoice in God. He changes not. If the Lord be your joy, your joy will never dry up. All other things are but for a season; but God is for ever and ever. Make him your joy, the whole of your joy, and then let this joy absorb your every thought. Be baptized into this joy; plunge into the deeps of this unutterable bliss of joy in God.
But also take care that you rejoice in the Lord when you have other things to rejoice in. When he loads your table with good things, and your cup is overflowing with blessings, rejoice in him more than in them. Forget not that the Lord your Shepherd is better than the green pastures and the still waters, and rejoice not in the pastures or in the waters in comparison with your joy in the Shepherd who gives you all. Let us never make gods out of our goods; let us never allow what God gives us to supplant the Giver. Shall the wife love the jewels that her husband gave her better than she loves him who gave them to her? That were an evil love, or no love at all. So, let us love God first, and rejoice in the Lord always when the day is brightest, and multiplied are the other joys that he permits us to have.”
This last paragraph stood out to me especially. In times when God’s blessings are abundant, it is so important to not make “gods out of our goods” – something I can be quite guilty of. I have also struggled with having “superficial joy” which fluctuates based on circumstances. Other people will let us down, beauty will fade, earthly riches will diminish, but the Lord never changes.The Bible is clear about rejoicing in the Lord.
I love these verses from Psalm 51:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
So, fellow believers, let’s pray for the grace to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, though all seasons of life. When we are weary, let us bring our burdens to Him, and when our lives overflow with blessing, let us praise the Giver of those blessings, that our joy may be full and complete in Christ alone.