JOY IN SERVING JESUS
Not too many people are joyful today. Our national and international politics and military skirmishes don’t make for a positive outlook. Yet in all of this, Christians are to be joyful. One of my favorite hymns is “Joy in Serving Jesus.” Remember the main message of the New Testament: there is good news of great joy for all people (Luke 2:10). In fact, every New Testament writer has something to say about joy in one or more of its varieties. Luke’s Gospel is the gospel of joy, while Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written though it was from prison, is the letter of joy. In the Apostle John’s writings, fullness of joy is stressed (John 17:13; 1 John 1:4). First Peter teaches about joy in suffering (1 Peter 3:14; 4:13–14). The joy of practical religion is shown in the letter of James (James 1:25). The joy of the redeemed is found in Revelation (Revelation 22:14). It is the desire of the Lord Jesus Christ that every believer knows what it means to have full joy in our lives.
If you are a believer and you don’t seem to be experiencing the joy of the Lord, let me urge you to consider three areas of your life: the study of Scripture, supplication (prayer), and the sharing of your faith in service and soul winning. In Nehemiah chapter 8, Ezra unfolded the Word of God unto the people and, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” The joy came from knowing God through His Word. To be joyful as God commanded was a means both of increasing their bodily strength (through the feasts/fellowship) and their inward strength, to make them fit to the worship of God and service of men with cheerfulness. We see that the Lord is the object of joy and the source of joy. In Him we receive the renewing of spiritual strength so as to run and not be weary, walk and not faint. We found joy because we found God as its source. Study the Scripture so you may know Him more deeply and as a result experience a deeper joy.
Joy comes from a vibrant prayer life. Jesus said in John 16:24, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” He also said in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” It is called Christ‘s joy and our joy. It is Christ‘s, because it is given to us by Him; for He is both the author and the cause of our joy. He is the cause of our joy because, when He took our punishment on the cross we were freed from guilt. When the sin that separated us from God was removed, we were allowed to have fellowship with God. Fellowship with God is important for experiencing His joy. In the Old Testament we read, “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). According to John 16:24, we experience the fulness of joy when we experience answers to prayer as a true believer. You have to fellowship with God in prayer to experience fullness of joy.
Lastly, we know that true joy comes when we get saved. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ joy comes. David prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). In Psalm 35:9 he wrote, “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation.” We have the joy of His salvation and we have opportunity to spread this joy by sharing the gospel. In the book of Acts, Philip went and preached Christ to the city of Samaria. There were miracles there “and there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). Later Philip helped to convert the Ethiopian eunuch, and the eunuch went away rejoicing. There is joy in Jesus Christ and there is joy in sharing and serving Jesus. After experiencing the joy of salvation we are to share it. In Luke 15 Jesus tells a story of joy in heaven over one sinner that repents (v.7). There is joy in serving Jesus. Are you serving Him in these three areas—in study, in supplication and in sharing the Gospel? Our VBS is coming in June—will you please pray for effectiveness? Will you participate and serve somehow in VBS? Truly, there is joy in serving Jesus!