Do you have joy?
“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Proverbs 10:28
What is it that comes to mind when you read the word joy? Do the words happiness, pleasure, delight, or contented come to mind? The world’s concept of joy is certainly different than a Biblical worldview. The unsaved are always looking for the next activity, possession, or person to bring happiness to their lives, which should not be the case for followers of Christ.
Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi is referred to as the “Epistle of Joy”. The late R C Sproul wrote the following about the letter to the Philippians:
“Philippians is one of my favorite epistles of the Apostle Paul, and it is called in church history “the epistle of joy.” Because again and again in this letter, Paul speaks of his own joy, which is infectious, and he then encourages the people at Philippi to participate in the joy that Paul is experiencing—and that while he is writing to them from imprisonment! And he said, “I rejoice; therefore, you rejoice as well.” And Paul, at that time, is anticipating the possibility of his own imminent demise, but he looks forward to the future with joyous anticipation. And this is a theme, of course, that’s not found merely in the Philippian correspondence, but it’s found throughout the writings of the Apostle. And so frequent is this motif of joy that I think it is safe to say that this fruit of the Holy Spirit is something that should be evidenced and manifest to some significant degree in every true Christian’s life.”
Even while Paul was imprisoned, he understood that his circumstances did not hinder his joy, and he retained a steadfast hope that someday he would depart this life and be with Jesus (Philippians 1:20–21). Every true believer will experience trials,’ but James tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” And Peter assures us that God “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Believers rejoice because we have endless hope, but Solomon observes that the wicked have a hopeless end. Eventually, those who reject God will find themselves lost and eternally separated from God (Matthew 16:26). The world’s joy is temporary, while a Christian joy is forever.
I heard a speaker say, “The only heaven an unbeliever will ever experience in this life now, and the only hell a believer will have to endure is this life now.”
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10