C – ATTRIBUTES OF A CHRISTIAN – 3
What could be a better sight as a person enters a meeting of Christians than to see smiles bursting from happy faces. Joy is an important attribute of a Christian and it must come from within. Two songs come to mind – “The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength” (Neh.8:10) and “I’ve Got Real Joy, Wonderful Joy”. The world offers happiness—but only for a season. Worldly friends might offer fun and excitement only to end in grief. The only real joy is in Jesus. Prov.12:20; Jer.15:16 True joy comes from the heart. Ps.4:7 Everlasting joy is promised in Isa.51:11.
Joy is expressed as events happen in our lives. The Magi were very joyful as they saw the star. Matt. 2:10 Jesus told parables of lost things being found and this produced joy. The first was a lost sheep. Lk.15:5 This parable was used to show how a lost sinner produces joy in heaven when he repents. Another parable is told of a lost coin that illustrates the same. Lk.15:9 The parable of the Prodigal Son also shows the joy of the lost being found. Lk.15:32 The ultimate joy is found in heaven when a sinner is saved from the clutches of sin. Lk.15:10
Deep inner joy is found with thanksgiving and peace. If we can find the many things for which to be thankful in every circumstance, then we will have joy. Peace and contentment also comes with inner joy and thanksgiving. Rom.14:17 Paul and Barnabas endured great persecution on the first missionary journey and yet, with what were the disciples filled? They were filled with joy. Acts 13:52 The gospel was being proclaimed and people were giving their lives to Jesus. This was true in Acts 15:3.
When joy is centered in self and things of this world, it will be shallow and due for loss. 1 Jhn.2:15-17 If we center our lives around Jesus and the spiritual things of life, then and only then can lasting joy be produced. Joy is part of the fruit that blossoms from the Spirit. Gal.5:22
Does worry bring joy? Matt.6:31-34 Paul told the Philippians to rejoice. Phil.4:4 Then very quickly he had another admonition for them. Phil.4:6,7 When we worry, what is it generally about? Things of this world. It is very true that a Christian needs to take care of his obligations in this world to show an honest example before all. Jesus taught this in Lk.20:25.
We go beyond our obligations and want style, surplus, and “toys” like our neighbors. Is debt a joy? No! Paul learned contentment in every possible circumstance. Phil.4:11 It seems that some are never satisfied. The saying goes, “The grass is greener on the other side.” Paul explains contentment to Timothy in 1 Tim.6:6-8 The same idea was expressed by Job so well. Job 1:21
Usually money is necessary to satisfy many of our discontents. This leads to problems with our spiritual life. 1 Tim.6:9,10; Heb.13:5 The love of money becomes a destructive character trait. It leads us to a lack of trust and also a lack of joy.
Joy is often associated with thanksgiving. If we are thankful, then we can take joy in whatever it may be. It might be something we received or perhaps an event that took place. Whatever it might have been, when we are thankful, then we take joy in the occasion. The following two Scriptures give great joy as well as thankfulness. 2Cor.9:15
Another cause of joy for a Christian is hope. A Christian’s hope is in the Lord. Ps.39:7; 1Pet.1:21 A non-Christian has hope in things of this world. Those things will pass away. A Christian’s hope goes beyond that. Eph.2:12 This lack of hope is evident at the time of death. 1Thess.4:13 There is fear rather than hope. Our hope is called a living hope. 1 Pet.1:3 This gives a Christian great joy. Rom.15:13 An explanation of this hope is given in Tit.1:2. Tit.2:13
1 Thess.5:16,18 Even in trials? Rom.5:3 When we can achieve a victory over a trial or temptation, it gives us strength for the next one. If we never had a trial, our strength would be in atrophy as in a muscle that was never used. Use strengthens. So we are strengthened in our ability to stand strong for our Lord. Jam.1:2,3 Jesus gave this instruction in the Sermon on the Mount. Matt.5:11,12 Notice: rejoice and be glad even when people are speaking evil against us.
When Jesus was explaining to the apostles that He was going away, He gave them a greater joy. They were glad to have Jesus with them but there was to be a greater joy coming. Jhn.16:24 Now when they prayed, they would be able to pray in His name that their joy would be made full. Jhn.15:11 Jesus wanted them to experience His joy. Jhn.17:13 When Jesus left they would suffer grief, but then they would have joy that no one could take from them. Jhn.16:22
As Christians, we need to show joy in our lives. The first place the world will see our joy is on our face—smile! Joy brings a friendliness that invites people. Joy also shows hope. People in the world have enough sadness to want to come to a place that shows gloom. Joy is an encourager. Happiness uplifts. It not only helps the world—it helps us!
We keep on rejoicing even to the point of rejoicing with exultation (delight). Nothing could be worse than what our Lord suffered for us and yet He did it with joy. Heb.12:2
Let joy be an attribute of our Christian life. 1 Pet.1:8