Stephen blows fiercely against the candles on his cake. But try as he may, those flames will not die. He is the victim of trickery and everyone howls with merriment. There is a wonderful lesson on top all that delicious frosting.
So often as Christians we wear our joy like normal candles. At the slightest breeze of adversity we find our light snuffed. It is much easier to be critical and whine than it is to rest in the certainty of Christ. Joy is not defined by the absence of wind or rain or by the presence of paradise. It is not conceived under the banner of pleasure. True joy cannot be formed by what is already in essence tainted. For joy to be complete it must be founded in the only thing that is perfect—God!
Psalm 28:7--The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.
I have found that certain elements directly contribute to my ability to be joyful. First, I must have the habit of eating from God’s Word. Without the nourishing wisdom the Bible gives, I lose God’s perspective, embrace my own notion of life and reap the sour taste of a convoluted attitude. Second, I must be in prayer. For some profoundly simple reason, talking to God and listening to Him dynamically fortifies my spirit so that regardless of what happens I am at peace. Without prayer, I plunge into stress and find my body like a guitar string too tightly wound—sharp to the ear. Third, I need times of fellowship with other believers. It’s hard to be encouraged, and to gain a healthy perspective if I am without the companionship of brothers and sisters in love with Jesus.
How’s your joy quotient? “Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee . . .” Hmmmm. Those words have a polished ring. If the Lord is the subject of our adoration, joy is the operative expression!
We have the notion of joy that arises from good spirits or good health, but the miracle of the joy of God has nothing to do with our lives or circumstances or the condition we’re in. Jesus does not come to us and say, “Cheer up.” He plants within us the miracle of the joy of God’s own nature. The stronghold of the Christian faith is the joy of God, not my joy in God . . . God reigns and rules and rejoices, and His joy is our strength. The miracle of the Christian life is that God can give a person joy in the midst of external misery, a joy which gives him or her power to work until the misery is removed. Joy is different from happiness, because happiness depends on what happens. There are elements in our circumstances we cannot help; joy is independent of them all. Oswald Chambers in He Shall Glorify Me
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)