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Joy:  A Key Ingredient to Abundant Life

Wendy Bailey

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Each day from God is a gift. Our time on this earth is short, and God wants us to live each day to the fullest. Jesus came so we could have abundant life.

John 10:10

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

The secret to living an abundant life is to incorporate the right spiritual ingredients. The Bible refers to those ingredients as the fruit of the Spirit, consisting of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (see Gal. 5:22). One of the key ingredients is joy.

Joy can be defined as a strong sense of fulfillment or satisfaction. Joy is not something that is fleeting. Joy is not happiness. Happiness comes and goes. Happiness is dependent upon your circumstances, but joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Joy is deep seated within your Spirit. It is not just elation, but rather spiritual satisfaction.

Joy is part of the gift you receive when you are born again. Your born again spirit has joy in there. But the choice to open that package, the choice to tap into that joy is up to you. If being joyful is not part of your daily routine yet, let me give you several reasons you can be joyful right now.

(1) If you are a Christian, your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. Translation: You are going to live forever with God. Rejoice!

Luke 10:20

"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."

Thank God that Jesus Christ took the penalty of our sin upon him, becoming the perfect sacrifice, so that we could live in His presence. True joy comes from being in the presence of God. Psalms 16:11 says "...in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." And the beauty of it is that we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to be in His presence. Ps 100:4 says we enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Lift your hands, thank God for His saving grace, praise His name, and be ushered into His presence. When that happens, you’ll begin to experience that joy.

(2) Joy can sustain you during hard times. Trials and tribulations will come, but praise God, they will also go. In fact, the psalmist said in Psalm 30:5 that weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. The world could be falling apart around you, but you can still take joy in the God of your salvation.

The apostle Paul was one man who knew the secret about joy. Paul wasn’t moved by circumstances. He knew that regardless of his situation, he could rejoice. In 2 Cor 7:4 he said, "I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." And we all know that Paul had his share of tribulation! Paul even knew ahead of time that troubles lay ahead for him in the cities to which he was traveling.

Acts 20:22-23

22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

But note what Paul says in verse 24:

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul could have given up in any one of the situations he was in. But he didn’t quit...he kept going, with the joy of the Lord as his strength.

Jesus Himself endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. He saw the precious fruit of the earth that would come forth as a result of His obedience, and he completed the will of God!

(3) Joy is good for you. Look at Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Joy is good medicine. Many different scientific studies have been performed that correlate a positive attitude, (or as one scientist put it, "habitual feelings of pleasure and well-being"), with living a long life. We can have so much more when we have the joy of the Lord. So be sure to take your medicine. Rejoice! You definitely can’t overdose!

(4) Joy can win people to the Lord. Psalm 51:12-13 says, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." When you are joyful, it shows. There is a dying world out there, hungry for what you have.

I remember when my grandma was in the hospital before I was saved. She had a roommate whose family were Christians. My mom used to come home and talk about how nice these people were, and how happy they seemed despite their circumstances, how they laughed and enjoyed each other. I never forgot what she told me. She said, "I heard Christians are joyful like that." That stuck with me. There was something about being joyful despite circumstances that was attractive to me. I wanted to be like that and to have what they had!

You need joy in your life. Jeremiah said, "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." The word of God will bring rejoicing. Why? Because it’s the truth, and when we know the truth, it will set us free.

Listen, when you have joy, you have peace. And when you have peace, you become unmanageable to the devil. I like the thought of being unmanageable to the devil. That word "unmanageable" reminds me of a couple kids I knew who used to consume 24 oz of Jolt cola and a package of powdered sugar donuts, just for fun. We had to just stand back, ‘cause there was no stopping that train! Joy is the same way - it’s a propellant. It will keep you moving forward.

Don’t forget about the joy of the Lord. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. "The world didn't give it and the world can't take it away." The joy of the Lord is unspeakable and full of glory, and it will change your life - if you let it.