I really believe that God wants us to know, on a deeply personal level, that He is a good God who loves us with all His heart, soul, mind and strength. He showed us this when He said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you….thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”1
God created us with the ability to experience joy and happiness. His plan for His people has always been that we enjoy, we delight and we be happy in Him. Just as He did for David, He wants to change our mourning into dancing and gird us with gladness.2 This dramatic transformation happens when we:
Read His Word: Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”3 He wants us to find joyous fulfillment in His Word.
Fellowship with One Another: In the early days of the church, the believers found joy by “continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house…with gladness and singleness of heart.”4 We can find joy in the same way.
Get Answers to Prayer: Jesus said “Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.”5 If you look, you will find that the phrase “that your joy may be full” is repeated many times in the Epistles.
Spend Time with Him: Yet another sure way to find joy. “You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”6
The natural result of walking in the Spirit is joy.7 “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”8
So, I have to ask myself, why are the people who emphasize holiness so cranky? These promoters of righteousness almost give righteousness a bad name. With fire in their eyes and one eyebrow raised (a talent that I have not mastered even after practicing for hours in the mirror), they stick their finger in your face and tell you with a thundering voice, “You must be holy as God is holy!”
Well, I want to be holy, but do I have to be bad-tempered too?
Jesus wasn’t bad tempered. Hebrews says, “You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions.”9
Jesus had more gladness than any of His companions! The Old Testament also talks about God being joyful: “The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing.”10
In one of the Psalms, it says, “But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.”11 If I go a while, maybe a couple of days, without this joy and gladness, I worry. This means that my heart is getting hard. I need to go back into His presence where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
And finally, at the end of my life I hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of your lord.”12
Let’s serve God with gladness. Let’s go before His presence with rejoicing.13
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”14
1- Jer. 29:11 2- Psalms 30:11 3- John 15:11; 1 John 1:4 4- Acts 2:46 5- John 16:24 6- Acts 2:28 7- Galatians 5:22 8- Romans 14:17 9- Hebrews 1:9 10- Zephaniah 3:17 11- Psalm 68:3 12- Matthew 25:21 13- Psalms 100:2 14- Romans 15:13