In our world of increasing uncertainties and growing tensions, nothing in a Christian’s life does more to commend his faith to others than a serenity and joy independent of circumstances.
Happiness and joy are at times similar, but they can also be very different. Happiness is usually associated with material things or with experiences, but true joy stems from a right relationship with God. Sidney J. Harris has truly said that “pleasure” and “joy” not only are not synonymous but may be as profoundly different as heaven and hell.
In the Psalms particularly there are references to the joy that has its source in man’s personal awareness of God and his goodness. We find this same note of transcendant joy in the biographies of God’s servants down through the ages.
Why then is joy so seldom seen in the lives of Christians today? Why do we fail to bear this visible witness that could mean so much to us and to others?
Is not the reason—in part at least—our failure to take spiritual inventory? We have so many blessings and privileges that we hardly notice but that should be a source of unending joy. Many of us live as spiritual beggars when we should live as kings.
Let us think of some of the sources of the Christian’s joy:
There is the joy of sins forgiven. There can be no real joy in salvation until we sense something of what we have been saved from and the cost of that which made salvation possible.
Perhaps one reason why the Church is weak today is that little emphasis is placed on personal sin and its consequences. Many persons become church members without ever repenting of their sins or confessing them to the Christ who died to bear our guilt and its penalty. Until we realize what Christ has done for us, there can be no real joy.1
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