Joy on God's Terms

  • March 5, 2012
  • #7786

Joni shares that we are offered God's joy as long as we are willing to share in His suffering.

Hi, I'm Joni and I am honored when people say I'm happy. Because you know what? I am happy, and there is a good reason. I'm joyful because I know that God is happy! First Timothy 1:11 calls our Lord “the blessed God.” He is not a threatened, pacing deity starving for attention. He’s not an ogre with his finger on the nuclear weapon. No, He’s “the blissful” God, or as some translations say, He is the happy God... the rapturously happy God… joyful, glad! 

Now it begs the question, what is God so happy about? Well, in Matthew 3:17, God tells us. He says, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." You see, the Father’s happy because of Jesus. The Son is God the Father standing in the mirror. Jesus is the photo-image of everything happy, pure and perfect, and the Father never tires of bragging about His Son.

In Jesus, the Father sees the fountain of all the goodness that ever was. Jesus is joy spilling over onto earth. The Savior is “joy-incarnate” splashing over heaven’s walls. Jesus swims in elation, and you know what? Here is the best part… He is driven to share that joy with us. I mean, He’s driven. Why?  Jesus explains in John 15:11, “so that My joy may be in you.” Wow! Jesus has a goal and it’s to make His joy complete and mature in you. He wants you to be happy, to be glad, to be full of His joy. I mean, isn’t that great?! 

Can it be? Could God really be that generous? Is He really heaven-bent on seeing us full of joy? Yes, He is, but there is a small catch. God only shares His joy on his terms, and those terms call for you and me to, in some measure, suffer as His beloved Son did while on earth. We may not understand His reasons, but we are insane to fight Him on this. He is in ecstasy beyond words. And it is worth anything to be his friend. Romans 8:17 puts it this way. It says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” We share in His joy, we share in His inheritance, we share in His happiness if indeed we share in His sufferings. Friend, no one goes to God's heaven without tasting the Son’s sufferings. We can’t have the crown if we do not first bear the cross.

And that is why I'm so happy. If the reasons for my cross weren’t clear; if I didn’t understand God's goal for my sufferings; if I saw no purpose in the heartaches or hardships, then I would have every reason to be sad, but God has told me in His Word that there is a goal; there are reasons; there is a purpose. Because when I endure suffering without complaining, then and only then does God pour out His joy. The joy of the Lord… the joy I share with Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, and it’s a joy like nothing earth has to offer. God's joy is rock-solid and down deep, it’s constant and never fluctuating, it is powerful and strong enough to sustain me through anything. It doesn’t depend on circumstances, but my joy is “in the Lord” as scripture says time and again.

You know, I talk about how to apprehend this joy in a snippet of a video that I posted this week on my radio page. Please visit me as soon as you can at joniandfriends.org and click on this special little video in which I talk about my happiness in the Lord. You can really rejoice in the Lord always, and again I'll say it: rejoice!

Previously aired as program #7051 on 5/11/09.

© Joni and Friends

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