Vol. 11 No. 12 December 2009
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Is your Christian life characterized with joy? Are you really a joyful, happy person? Sadly, it seems that many people, generally speaking, are not really joyful. Why is it the case that far too many people, and even some Christians, do not experience real, lasting joy? Godly people are joyful people! Solomon wrote, “to the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy…” (Ecclesiastes 2:26a ASV). Isaiah taught his Hebrew brethren, “with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). The early Christians were happy in their newfound faith as God’s Children (cf. Acts 5:41; 8:39; 16:34). People who belong to God are joyful (Isaiah 61:10; Philippians 4:4). Why should our lives in Christ be filled with happiness, joy and rejoicing?
First, Christians are joyful because of our deliverance. Can you imagine the overwhelming joy that a person, who had been locked up in prison for years, would experience upon his release? Should those of us who have spent many years confined to the cold, dark, prison cell of sin and bondage be any less joyful? Joy and rejoicing would be our lot, if we truly understood what our newfound deliverance, as a Christian, is all about! We have been delivered and set free from error (John 8:31-32). We have been set free from guilt and condemnation (Psalm 103:12; Romans 8:1ff). We have been set free from the practice of sin (Romans 6:1-2, 17-18). Further, we have been delivered from the fear of death as well (Hebrews 2:14-15; Philippians 1:21). The Joy of my Salvation comes as a result of understanding I have been delivered!
Secondly, Christians are joyful because of our Defender. When we think of a defender, we often think of one who protects or guards another. As Christians, we ought to overflow with joy because we have a Defender—one who will plead our cause and defend us! We have God the Father as our Defender (Psalm 46:1-3; Romans 8:31). We also have Christ as our Defender. As John wrote, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). The word “advocate” comes from a compound Greek word parakaleo. Para meaning “along side of” and kaleo meaning “to call or summons”; literally, it means, “called to one’s side” (Thayer 483). Jesus literally pleads my case as a defense attorney in the court of heaven (cf. Romans 8:34). Dear reader, because of our Defender, “…we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37b). The joy of my salvation comes from knowing I have a Defender!
Lastly, Christians are joyful because of our destiny. When my family and I go on a trip, our joy and happiness is somewhat dependent upon the destination. Each of us is on a great trip—a journey called life. Depending upon where we are heading in this life determines our joy. In the midst of anxiety and fear, Jesus reminded His apostles of their destination (John 14:1-3). As John correctly wrote, “…Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…” (Revelation 19:9b)! Joy, even in the midst of life’s trials, because of our destiny, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12; cf. 1 Peter 1:8-9). The Joy of my salvation comes as a result of knowing I have a great destiny!
Is your life characterized by joy and rejoicing? It should be and it can be. Obey the Savior, remain true to Him, and joy will be yours today and throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity! May we each “with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation”!
Thayer, Joseph H. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2007.