In pondering joy, one thing comes repeatedly to mind. When I feel joy, I feel triumphant. When joy is working, my day looks brighter, my outlook more positive, and my energy to endure patiently increases dramatically. And when I don’t have joy, all the opposite things happen.
I drag through the day.
I see challenges everywhere.
I don’t want to endure.
When I am missing joy, I am missing victory.
Joy and victory are tied together through much of the Old Testament.
“As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.” –1 Samuel 18:6, ESV
Joy erupts from victory. I can’t help but think that one feeds the other, back and forth. When victory comes, soon after is joy. When you carry through life with joy, you do not doubt that victory will soon follow.
Missing joy? Maybe you’re missing victory.
But wait, there’s more…
Victory doesn’t come alone. Victory brings the party.
“…their relatives, from as far as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys and on camels and on mules and on oxen, abundant provisions of flour, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, and wine and oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.” –1 Chronicles 12:40, ESV
Victory doesn’t pack a sack lunch. Victory brings so much to the table, it needs a variegated heard to carry it all! After the victory, the feast is enjoyed.
Maybe you have victory, but it is so fleeting that you’re back to joyless int he blink of an eye. Take a cue from the Israelites. Through yourself a feast–literal or figurative–and embrace the victory. Take a few moments to savor the accomplishment. And relax a bit to honor the One who provides it all.
Do not rush from one accomplishment to the next. Embrace the joy, the victory, and the feasting. That feasting rest will keep your perspective strong, will allow the joy to endure, and will carry you to the next victory. Do you know where the next victory is?
“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place.” –1 Chronicles 16:27, ESV
“In His place” here does not mean that strength and joy replace God. It means that they are in the very presence of God. But look at their brothers in that house! Splendor. Majesty. Strength. Joy.
Joy is nothing to monkey around with. His brotherhood is mighty. His brotherhood cannot be ignored. And his brotherhood hangs out with the God of the universe. Joy is not wimpy looking on the bright side. Joy runs deep. And joy holds on through the tough times.
“…and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10, ESV
Do not be grieved. Why? Because the Lord’s joy is your strength. Not “will be” your strength. Not “can be” your strength. Not “on Tuesdays if you’re good, you might get a dose of strength.” The joy of the Lord *is* your strength. Present tense. All the time.
Missing joy? Check out his brotherhood of victory, splendor, majesty, and strength. Then seek them all from the One in Whose presence they exist.