We all know that the “joy of the Lord is my strength” and the devil desires to rob us of our joy at any moment. The only source of joy is a relationship with Jesus. When Christians are saved, the first emotion is joy, that we are forgiven and saved from our sins. Many of us have carried many sins and what a joy it was to unload it! The Lord is so compassionate. I can just imagine the elation of the sinful woman who experienced the love and compassion from Jesus who did not judge her past. She was blessed!
I was witnessing in the city one day when I met an older woman at a bus stop. I engaged her in conversation and led her through the sinner’s prayer. When she was done, I was astonished when all of a sudden she started dancing in the middle of the side walk in a very busy plaza! Then she hugged me. I could not stop laughing. The laughter was the joy that this woman had been forgiven and was now free from the law of sin and death. It was from the Lord. Her sorrow was turned to joy.
For many of us, our first encounter with the Lord was a memorable experience. Never in our lives have we experienced such joy as this. It is comforting to know that the Lord was willing to wipe our slates clean of all past sins! Amazing, when we thought we were doomed to go to hell and that what we did was unforgivable. The Lord is so good!
The Lord promises in Psalm 37:4 that if we “delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our hearts.” That is so wonderful! Imagine if we could have anything that our hearts desire, so long as we delight ourselves in the Lord, what would it be? I looked up the word delight and it mean, “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy, rapture.” That means we have to experience a high degree of joy in order to receive our heart’s desire. The highest degree of joy would have to come from the Lord, since he is without sin and he is pure.
The Lord encouraged the disciples to rejoice that their names were written in the book of life, in their relationship with God, and that they were saved. When Christians truly delight themselves in the Lord, they receive the desires of their hearts. They are rejoicing in spiritual things which are eternal, rather than worldly things, which only last for a short time.
We come to understand the source of the Lord’s joy in this passage: “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Luke 10:21-22). Here the Lord is rejoicing in his relationship with the Father.
Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and therefore cannot be experienced without the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, then you can experience the joy that Jesus spoke about to the disciples. May you experience joy in your work.