Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; I come before him with joyful songs (Psalm 100:1).
We are to worship the Lord with joy.
As I was thinking about this, my thoughts went to two chapters from God’s Word: Isaiah 12 and Philippians 4.
With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3).
Shout aloud and sing for joy… , for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 12:6).
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
I rejoice in the Lord greatly (Philippians 4:10).
Joy: what is so special about joy? What does God’s Word teach us about joy? Let’s look together at what these four verses, from Isaiah and Philippians, teach us about joy.
(1) We begin with the first of these verses, Isaiah 12:3. With joy, you will draw water and drink from the wells of salvation.
Notice the connection between joy and salvation. We rejoice because the Lord has saved us. When we think of the word, “salvation”, our thoughts turn to Jesus, our Saviour.
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).
They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God (Luke 24:52-53).
(2) Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you (Isaiah 12:6).
Again, our joy is related to the Lord, our God, the God of our salvation. This time, God is described as “the Holy One of Israel.”
The holiness of God – that is what is emphasized here.
Taking together these two verses from Isaiah 12, we note that our joy is related to salvation and holiness.
God’s way of salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ. saved by any holiness of our own. We come to Christ, who became “sin for us so that, in him, we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We have been saved by the Lord. Now, we are called to walk on “the highway of holiness” (Isaiah 35:8).
How are we to live a holy life?
Again and again, in Hebrews 11, we read the words, “by faith.” Again and again, the message that comes to us from the lives of many people from Old Testament times is this: “by faith.”
What is the meaning of faith?
Faith looks away from ourselves to the Lord.
Let’s return to our question, “How are we to live a holy life?” The answer is “by faith.”
We do not make ourselves holy. We look to the Lord. We ask him to make us holy.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (or fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith).
Notice the words “looking to Jesus” (or “fixing our eyes on Jesus“). Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” or “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”).
How are we to live a holy life?: looking to Jesus” (or “fixing our eyes on Jesus”).
Looking to Jesus: this is what gives us joy, as we travel on the highway of holiness. Holiness is never our own achievement. When we make any progress on the highway of holiness, we must always say, “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).
(3) Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4).
Do we rejoice in the Lord always? There are many times when we lose our joy. How is it that we lose our joy?
We take our eyes off Jesus. That’s how we lose our joy.
Always: this is so difficult for us. We have our ups, and we have our downs.
Always: this is so true of Jesus, our Saviour. He says to us, “I will always love you.” This is always true: Jesus loves us. We may stop loving Jesus. He will never stop loving us. This is what we must always remember. This is what we must never forget. Jesus’ love for us is an ‘always and forever’ love.
When we read the words, “Rejoice in the Lord always”, we must be honest with ourselves and say, “I don’t always rejoice in the Lord.” When we are being honest about our failure to rejoice in the Lord always, let us make sure that we, also, say something else, a prayer of thanksgiving, “I thank you, Lord, that you have always loved me. I thank you that you will always love me.”
(4) I rejoice in the Lord greatly (Philippians 4:10).
This time, I ask you to notice the word, “greatly.”
“I rejoice in the Lord greatly.” How is our rejoicing to become great rejoicing?
Again, the answer has nothing to do with ourselves, and everything to do withe Jesus. Jesus is a great Saviour. This is where our joy comes from.
If we have very little awareness of how great a Saviour Jesus is, we will not have great joy. If, on tyhe other hand, we,often, think of how great a Saviour Jesus is, we will find that our joy in the Lord is growing stronger and stronger.
Do you want to have great joy? Think of Jesus. Think of him often, Think of his birth and his life. Think of his death and his resurrection. Look forward to his return in great power and glory, and let your heart rejoice in him. The more you think of him, the more your joy will increase, and the more you will be able to join, with Paul, in saying, “I will rejoice in the Lord greatly.”