Bring the Joy Back!
Scripture: John 15:11 and Galatians 5:22-23
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but folks aren’t smiling much these days. Jesus wants us to smile, to exhibit joy. He said, “These things I have spoken unto you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). I’ve been reading the Bible this week with joy in mind, and everywhere I turn I find it. Joy is the atmosphere in which Christians live. We rejoice in the Lord always (Phil. 4:4); we “rejoice evermore” (1 Thess. 5:16). As someone put it, “Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”
2. The Secret of Joy in Your Life.
You say, “Pastor, I am a Christian, but why don’t I have the joy of the Lord?” Well, I can’t answer that question for all of you, but let me go through some basic things we need if we’re going to have the joy of the Lord.
A. Surrender Your Life to Christ.
The secret of joy begins when you surrender yourself to Him. David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Ps. 51:12; also see Ps. 35:9; Acts 8:8, 39).
B. Submit Yourself Totally to the Spirit of God (Rom. 14:7; 1 Thess. 1:6).
Joy and the Holy Spirit go together. Galatians 5:22 calls joy a fruit of the Spirit. An interesting testimony to this comes from the life of a great teacher of the past named Walter Wilson. In his early days of ministry, Wilson felt fruitless. He was a hard worker, but there was little evidence of God’s working through him. One day a friend asked: “Dr. Wilson, what is the Holy Spirit to you?” Wilson replied, “He’s one of the persons of the Godhead, a teacher, a guide, a third person of the Trinity.” His friend said, “You haven’t answered my question—what is the Holy Spirit to you?” Wilson answered truthfully, “He is nothing to me. I have no contact with Him … I could get along quite well without Him.” Later Wilson heard Dr. James Gray preaching about the filling of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the service, Wilson returned to his motel, fell on the carpet, and began to pray, offering himself to the control of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Wilson was a changed man from that moment and went on to become one of the most joyful and powerful preachers of his generation.
C. Study the Word of God.
In 1 John 1:4, we read, “These things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you that you … that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
D. Spend Time with God in Prayer.
John 16:24 says, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (also see Ps. 16:11).
3. Conclusion: I’m sure you’re wondering, “Pastor, can’t you come up with anything more original then receiving Christ, submitting to the Spirit, reading the Bible, and praying?” Well, that’s just the bedrock simplicity of what it means to have joy in Christ. It’s not joy without tears or without sorrow. But it is a kind of joy you will never experience any place else until you find Christ in your own life.