The aroma of delicate roses wafts through the air like a gentle breeze in the spring. The thump-thump-thumping of hearts is almost audible in the quiet of the atmosphere. The presence of the Lord, in all His glory, is nearby; even the lights shine brighter. The hardest of hearts are becoming tender as the timekeeper slows the clock. The veil is lifted and for a moment, time stands completely still. “It is at this time that I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” It is the first caress of supple lips against one another, as two are joined as one: UNIFIED. Every eye witnessing this ceremony of love, a true and beautiful gift from our Creator, is overtaken.
There are times in our lives when joy is easy to find: in the glowing newlywed couple, the announcement of a new healthy baby, the landing of a dream job. There are other times that joy seems scarce in our eyes. A man named Paul writes, “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” Look again, did he write the following? When there is a wedding, be full of joy. When COVID-19 is contained, be full of joy. When the President you voted for wins the election, be full of joy. No, my loves, in Philippians 4:4 Paul writes, “Always be full of joy IN THE LORD.”
In my life, “in the Lord,” is where I have missed the mark. How was I supposed to find joy when my womb was emptied, yet in my arms a baby I did not find? Paul reminds us that our joy does not come from circumstances, though. Joy does not come from anything this world has to offer. Joy must be found in the Lord. In my breaking, God is still good. I find my joy in the Him alone. Think back to that sacred moment, that holy matrimony. Let us not forget that biblical marriage is not void of God. Jesus says, in Mark 10:9, “Let no one split apart what God has joined together.” God holds the active role in the marriage of a man and his wife. He stitches them together like a seamstress sewing an elaborate quilt. There is joy because of what God has done.
We must perform our due diligence to make sure that we understand the true definition of joy. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines joy in a few ways:
- the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires
- a state of happiness or felicity
- a source or cause of delight
As we comb through scripture throughout the old and new testaments; notice a theme when it comes to joy?
Deuteronomy 15:16 says, “For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the LORD your God at the place he chooses, for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.”
So, joy comes from honoring the Lord.
1 Samuel 4:5 says, “When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake!”
So, joy comes from being in the Lord’s Presence.
Luke 24:52 says, “So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy.”
So, joy comes from worshipping the Lord.
While the world mostly clings to the first and second definitions of joy, the Lord is calling us to define joy otherwise. We are called to be set apart from the world. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Let us not find our joy in things of this world. Let’s define the Lord as our source of Joy! Let’s shine boldly and find our joy in the Lord by honoring Him, opening our busied lives to savor time with Him and by worshipping Him.
Pray with me.
I honor you. I lift your name on high! Along with angels I sing, “Holy, holy, holy,” are you, Lord. With COVID-19 seemingly lurking around every corner. With the noise of political brawls littering the air. With the clinking and clanking of media overtaking our thoughts. Lord, I find my JOY in you. I repent of defining joy in terms of this world. Lord, I ask that you strengthen your people. Give your people strength to confess their sins and lift up their eyes to the heavens, so that they find JOY in you. Send the Holy Spirit to all leaders of our great Nation. Lord, I ask a blessing over Joe Bidden, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Kamala Harris. I ask that You prosper America. Make my Nation holy, Lord Jesus. May your spirit of peace settle here like a river, and may every tongue confess that YOU are GOD. Thank you for what You have already started and what You are going to do. Thank you that I can find JOY in You.
In Jesus’ mighty name I pray.