The joy of the Lord – What is it?
The joy of the Lord is a supernatural confidence that God is sovereign, loving, powerful, and for us. It is the inner understanding, granted by the Holy Spirit, that no matter our circumstances, our condition, or our surroundings, God is working things out for our good (Romans 8:28).
The joy of the Lord is evident throughout the Bible, especially in regards to Jesus.
Before He was born, Mary sang of her joy (Luke 1:47) and Jesus' cousin John, still in his mother's womb, leaped for joy (Luke 1:44). On the night of Jesus' birth, the angels brought "good news of great joy" to the shepherds, announcing the coming Savior (Luke 2:10).
Jesus Himself lived with joy. Once, He said He was like a bridegroom at his own wedding feast (Mark 2:18–19)—that is unmatched joy! At one point, people accused Him of being too joyful (Luke 7:34). Jesus told His followers that He taught them for His own joy and for a full portion of joy for them (John 15:11; 16:24).
Jesus' stories often resulted in joy—for example, the shepherd, woman, and father in Luke 15. Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21).
When the church began, it was known for its joy (Acts 2:46–47; 13:52). When Paul wrote about the fruit of the Spirit, he included joy (Galatians 5:22). And, there is more. See Acts 13:52, Romans 14:17, Philippians 3:1 and 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16, and 1 Peter 1:8.
This joy of the Lord permeates the Bible. It extends deeper and further than mere happiness, which is temporary. It is constant (John 10:28–29; 1 Peter 1:3–9; Matthew 6:20).
Joy is a cornerstone of our relationship with God and that's why He spends so much time telling us about it in the Bible. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Our entire relationship with God, made through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, is set on a foundation of joy. "Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
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