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Can You Find Real Joy or Peace?

Can You Find Real Joy or Peace?

     Many are looking for joy, especially during this, the holiday season. Much effort is put forth to find and retain joy.   Peace and Joy are also themes for many gatherings during this time of year.   Many are devoted to seeking happiness and look for it in various ways.   While they seek what they deem happiness or joy, they do so based on their own definition of happiness or joy. The questions that needs to be asked is: “What is it that makes you happy?” or “What brings you joy?” and “Why do these things bring you joy, or make you happy?”

   The things that make you happy, or brings you joy, are those things which are of the most importance to you.    When these things happen as you desire them to happen, it causes within you a feeling of contentment or bliss.   When the things you participate in to find peace or joy do not go as you desire, the opposite effect occurs. Perhaps if you look to the start of the season of a particular sporting event, and if the beginning of the season is delayed, or if at the end of the season, your “team” doesn’t win, sadness or dissatisfaction becomes the “feeling” of the moment.

   In Psalm 122:1 we see what it was that made David happy. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  This is the same direction the Spirit had the psalmist write in Psalm 32:11 so the people of Israel could find their happiness in what the Lord had provided for those that love Him. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. The same is found in Habakkuk 3:18 where the prophet is praying to the God of heaven. God had provided Israel with strength through His Word.   This should have caused all of Israel to praise God and have joy in their hearts.   It did for Habakkuk. Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  

     But one cannot, in any dispensation, have the joy of the Lord, unless His Word is taken in and applied. The Spirit had Jeremiah express it this way in Jeremiah 15:16. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. 

     God’s people today are known as Christians.   He has provided much more for mankind in this, the final dispensation of time than ever before. The purpose of the other dispensations of time was to bring about joy through redemption. The Spirit had the apostle Paul write in Romans 5:10-11 that reconciliation to God, and to be the recipients of the atonement Christ died for is attainable.   It is also this reconciliation that should bring “joy” and “peace” to the Christian. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 

     Those who are Christians who have lost that joy, or no longer realize the peace that comes by being in Christ need to request as did the psalmist in Psalm 51:12 that their joy be restored.   Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. However, none will find the joy, or be restored to peace unless they work toward it.   This is perhaps why the Spirit in Philippians 2:12 had Paul write what he did to those brethren.   Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  We all have to work to maintain our joy in Christ and the peace of God.

       There are many who put forth a great deal of time, money and effort in whatever endeavors they undertake while seeking joy or happiness.   Often times folks will put off all the other things of life to pursue happiness. More often than not, these types of pursuits don’t deliver the happiness the person desired. Also, those seeking joy or peace from various sources are not usually inclined to take advice from others.  

       But, one seeking the peace and joy God offers will readily and gladly receive the advice God sent through the Spirit.   In 1John 1:3-4 we find that what was delivered (the Word of God) was given that men might be in fellowship with God and that they would have abundant joy. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 

     One way that a Christian’s joy can remain full is if their fellow Christians, especially our own children, and other loved ones remain faithful and continue to grow and learn as they mature in the faith. In 3John verse 4 we find Words to this effect the Spirit gave John to write in the last general epistle that bears his name. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.    So, for the Christian, joy can be had by following what has been written as well as when others do it. In fact, joy is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, and we know that God desires that we produce fruit.   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  

     Let’s all seek to find that real joy and peace, in the Word of God, not only during this holiday season, but throughout the entire year.   If we do what God says to do in His Word we will have joy, peace and the promise of salvation.   Jesus depicted this in Matthew 25:21. Read and study and rightly divide His Word.   Do what is directed in His Word and that joy prepared for the obedient and faithful can be yours. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.                     

                                                                                  Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


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