Whether you realize it or not, you need the joy of The LORD. Everything in you is crying out for it. You may have tried to satisfy yourself with superficial substitutes like money, social position, success, even drugs, alcohol, illicit sex or overeating. If you have, you know that ultimately those things leave you unfulfilled. The happiness they bring quickly vanishes. And you’re left once again with that deep inner longing for something more.
Joy. Your entire being craves it. Why? Because if you’re to keep on living, you need strength, and the joy of The LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Every fiber of your being is crying out for strength because you live in a world that is flowing in a negative direction.
The human race without Jesus is going toward death. In order to reach toward life, you must turn around to go upstream. And it takes a lot of strength to row upstream. It takes effort not to live the way the world lives—in doubt, fear, poverty and failure.
All you have to do to get in doubt and unbelief is relax your faith in God a little. The negative tide of this world will just sweep you downstream.
Poverty comes just as easily! All you have to do to be poor is to go to bed. The Bible says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down and sleep—so will your poverty come like a robber…” (Proverbs 6:10-11, The Amplified Bible). Prosperity takes hard work and diligence. You can’t get it by sleeping your life away.
To resist poverty, fear, doubt and disease demands strength—lots of it! That’s why your entire being continually cries out for strength.
If you don’t stay alert, Satan will take advantage of that need and lie to you. He’ll tell you that strength is in dope. He’ll tell you it’s in alcohol. He’ll tell you it’s in food. He’ll tell you that it’s in sex.
Now sex is a good thing, but God didn’t design it to live on. When people get it out of its proper perspective, it’ll destroy them like a rattlesnake. Death is connected to adultery. It doesn’t bring life and peace. Adultery produces death and destruction.
The strength you really need can only come from one source: the joy of The LORD. Joy is the strength you need to go upstream in a downstream world. So now the questions arise, where does joy come from, and how do I release it?
Joy comes from The WORD of God. Galatians 5:22 shows us joy is a fruit of the spirit. It is a spiritual force born into the spirit of man at the time of conversion along with faith, love, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness and temperance. It’s really not something we have to “get.” It’s already in every born-again believer.
Because of its kinship to faith, it’s easy to apply many of the same verses that talk about faith to joy. Romans 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Joy also comes by hearing The WORD. First John 1:4 lets us know that. So, joy is a product of The WORD like everything else that comes from God. Don’t look for it to come from other sources. It’s inside you—look there as you meditate The WORD.
Joy comes from a revelation of Jesus, which is a revelation of the Father—Almighty God. I discovered this vital truth by meditating the things Jesus told His disciples just before He went to the cross.
At the end of His earthly ministry, The LORD made the following statement to His disciples. He astounded them by saying, “It is expedient [or more profitable] for you that I go away” (John 16:7).
You have to understand why those men were so astonished by this statement. It was difficult for them to believe that it was better for them if Jesus left. While He was in their midst their every need was met. He calmed the storms. He fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. He raised the dead and healed the sick. Obviously, while He was with them everything was better than it had ever been before. Yet, Jesus said, “It is better for you that I go away.”
Let’s continue reading and find out why. Beginning again with John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [or Helper] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Now, verses 13-15: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
Then in verses 22-25:
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.
Notice in these statements how Jesus connected knowing the Father with the joy of The LORD. He knows that joy is the result of the Father being revealed. And when joy rises, there is strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
So, how are we going to know and understand the Father? Philip asked Jesus this very question. He said, “How are you going to show us the Father?” And Jesus replied, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” To get a revelation of the Father, you need to look at Jesus.
The LORD spoke to Oral Roberts several years ago and said, You’ll know Me better than you know any man if you will read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the book of Acts three times in 30 days, and do it on your knees. And 30 days later Brother Roberts said, “I know Jesus Christ of Nazareth more intimately than any person on earth.”
Jesus revealed Himself to Brother Roberts in and through The WORD of God. When he saw Jesus, he saw the Father.
You can come to know Him in that same way. Jesus has made that promise to everyone who keeps His WORD. In John 14:21-23 He says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest [or reveal] myself to him…If a man love me, he will keep my words.”
God’s fundamental method of revealing Himself is through The WORD. “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4). If you will purposely search The WORD of God for a revelation of Jesus and a revelation of the Father, the joy of The LORD will arise in your heart. And if you will stay with it, there is no condition of the body, no mental condition, no spiritual condition, no social situation, no political problem that will be able to keep you down. People every day are searching for this kind of victory and strength. They seek it everywhere except where it can really be found—in The WORD of God, fellowshiping with Jesus and the Father.
God also reveals Himself through the gifts of the Spirit. Didn’t Jesus say that the Spirit was coming to reveal the Father? So, that means that when the Spirit manifests Himself, the Father is revealed.
A doctor friend of mine was operating on a young boy who had a tumor on his brain stem. This doctor approached the operation in an attitude of prayer. He was praying in other tongues the whole time he was in surgery. When he started to make an incision to remove that tumor, he heard the voice of God. The LORD said, Wait, don’t do that. You’re cutting in the wrong place.
Right there in the midst of an operating room a word of wisdom was manifested! The Father revealed Himself! He told the doctor exactly how far he needed to move his knife over in order to make the incision in the right place. The doctor said later that if he had made the incision where he had started to, the boy would have died.
That word of wisdom made the surgery a success. It brought great joy to that boy and his parents. The Father revealing Himself through that gift of the Spirit made the difference between life and death, and the result was joy. Hallelujah!
How do I release joy? Since it’s already in my spirit and The WORD feeds it and energizes it, then it must be released. How? One way is through praise. God inhabits the praise of His people. Psalm 16:11 says, “In thy presence is fulness of joy.” Psalm 42:4 says, “I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise.” Joy is released with the voice. Like faith, it is released with words. God’s words of joy spoken with our mouths stir and release His joy from within us, bringing the strength that we must have from the Spirit of God.
Jeremiah 31:13 says, “Rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” Joy is released when we dance before God in praise and worship. Joy is also released in prayer. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:4 that he made request with joy. When we find the answer in God’s WORD to what we are about to pray and then meditate on it until it penetrates our hearts and minds, the joy of The LORD begins to be stirred up in us. As it is being stirred, we release it in prayer and supplication along with faith. Then comes the thanksgiving and praise. Then comes the shout for joy. Then the dance of joy. Strength is being applied in many directions to solve many problems. No wonder Satan falls back at the presence of God.
So then, joy is not only a great blessing, but it is also a weapon of tremendous strength. However, like all weapons of our warfare, it must be used as an act of faith in Jesus’ WORD rather than how we might feel at the time. He said His joy was ours. I believe it! It is fruit born in our inner man. I believe it! It’s mine! So, I’ll praise whether I feel like it or not—all the while expecting joy to do its work. Let’s put this mighty force to work in our lives and bring strength not only for ourselves but others as well.
Rejoice! And again I say, rejoice!
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