It’s easy to be annoyed, critical, unhappy, dismayed, and full of complaints. But the Bible commands us to have joy, and for very good reasons.
In this Thanksgiving season, it’s good to remind ourselves of those reasons. We’ll talk about the source of our joy, the substance of our joy, and the sustainment of our joy.
The Source of our JOY is our salvation. Samuel 2:1, says, “I rejoice in Thy salvation.” Isaiah 61:10 declares, “My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.” Luke 10:20 states, “But rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Romans 5:11 says, “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now have received reconciliation” (ESV).
- There is a reason for joy, and we must constantly direct our focus to stay on that reason!
The Substance of our JOY is Jesus, His word, and our communion with God through Him. Psalm 16:11 states, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy.” John 15:11 tells us, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. Jeremiah 15:16 declares, “Thy words were found and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name O LORD God of hosts.” And John 1:4 explains, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
- In other words, if you can’t find joy, perhaps you need to be spending more time with Jesus.
The Sustainment of our JOY is in worship and prayer and abiding in Jesus. Psalm 42:4 says, “I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise.” Luke 24:52, 53 reports, “And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.” John 15:7 promises, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” Acts 16:25 tells us, “At midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God.”
- To help us sustain our joy, we need to pray, praise, and sing to God.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- What are psalms? The word comes from psalmos, which is a striking or plucking with the fingers on stringed instruments. So psalms are sacred songs sung to musical accompaniment.
- Hymns, from humnos, are songs of praise specifically addressed to God. It appears that both psalms and hymns were words used to refer to music that focused on God’s attributes, who He is, and what He has done.
- The idea of spiritual songs comes from pneumatikos, meaning that which is guided by the Spirit. The Psalms that David wrote were understood to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 22:43-44)
Our fellowship with one another and what helps sustain our joy is based on the centrality of Jesus in our lives and our control by His Spirit by which we are inspired to sing to Him with rejoicing and thanksgiving. Someone said when we sing to God we pray twice. Our singing is twice as impacting—to those who hear it and to God to whom it is directed. Jesus Himself participated in the singing of hymns (Matthew 26:30).
Our fellowship as men of valor must be punctuated by singing the scriptural truths about God, focusing on who He is and what He has done. And our daily communion with the Lord will prepare us to worship Him together, our singing testifying to a healthy walk and witness of abiding in Jesus. If we wish to experience fullness of joy, we must recognize and rejoice in our salvation. We must continually seek God’s presence in His Word and in our prayers. And we must nourish our joy with worship and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Our dedicated, determined focus on these things will result in the fullness of joy.