“Hide Thy face from my sins and blot out all mine iniquities….Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.”
September 7, 2020
Do you want to find out whether you’re backslidden or not? Let's take your spiritual temperature with the joy test. Do you have joy in your heart all the time? “Joy unspeakable and full of glory”—whatever may happen?
You say, “Pastor, no, I don't have joy that kind of joy. Nobody is supposed to be joyful all the time. I've had some tough times.”
I think you’re thinking about happiness, not joy.
True joy doesn’t depend upon your circumstances. Happiness depends on circumstances—what “happens” to you. We’re not talking about happiness. Joy, on the other hand, is an inside job. True joy shines best in tough times. You can radiate joy in spite of circumstances or what happens.
Did you know that the New Testament book that radiates the most joy—Philippians—was written by Paul from a Roman prison? He said (Philippians 4:4), “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” And you rejoice not in your circumstances but in the Lord.
Paul didn't say “be happy always.” He did say, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). You can’t be happy always, because your circumstances change. Joy comes from your relationship with Jesus. You can have joy all the time because you can have Jesus all the time. Remember, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:1). Turn your eyes upon Jesus and away from your circumstances, and in Him you can “rejoice always.”