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The Joy Of The Lord

" Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice,

Let them shout for joy, because Thou defendest them:

Let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee"

(Psalm 5.11).

"The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13.52).

Youth is normally a time of joy, because it looks forward and sees the bright side of life. The joy of the Lord, however, is something different from this. It is a joy which has its spring in God. It is not dependent upon age or upon circumstances. It is often seen in old age and in difficult circumstances.

Joy is one of the chief quests of men of the world, and worldly youth sees it in the dance-hall and the cinema, and in many other pleasures and places. Such places as these are surely" out-of-bounds to all who love the Lord. But the Lord has a joy which He gives to all those who love His Name, a joy which the world can neither give nor take away. It is quite true that

"The world has nothing left to give

It has no new, no pure delight."

The world is bankrupt of real joy.

Those who have never known the joy of the Lord have never known what true joy is! It is the Lord's joy which He will impart to us in conditions! "Oh," you may ask, "What are the conditions? " That is what we want to write about in this article.

Some believers do not have much of the joy of the Lord in their souls, and for lack of this joy, they lack spiritual strength. On the other hand if we seek joy for its own sake, we shall be disappointed. All God's gifts are given so that we may glorify Him. Our joy must be in Him if we are to know this wonderful joy of the Lord.

Paul saluted the Philippians with a thrice repeated call to "Rejoice in the Lord" (3.1; 4.4), and let us remember, Paul was in prison when he wrote that! We must not think that God will give us an easy time so that we can be joyful. Not so! But when Christ is dwelling in our hearts through faith, we can rejoice anywhere. So perhaps the first lesson that we have to learn about the joy of the Lord, is that it is a joy in the Lord.

When we think about the Lord we should rejoice. Do our hearts rejoice when we remember Him, and His wonderful love to us? Do we rejoice at the thought of His coming again? If we do not rejoice in Him, then we are not likely to know His joy.

What is the cause of a lack of joy in the Lord? It is a lack of love for the Lord. It was a searching question that the Lord asked Peter, "Lovest thou Me." Let us turn that question by the Lord to our hearts, young disciples. Do we love Him? Let us be really frank with ourselves about it. If we do love Him, then let us tell Him so, as David did (Psalm 18.1). Alone with God, let us tell Him that we love Him, and that we long to love Him more. If it is convenient, it is better to pray aloud. Do not let us hurry when we kneel before God. Let us take time to think about the love of Christ, that love that passeth knowledge. Let us take time in prayer so that the love of the triune God may bathe our souls. As we wait in His presence, in quietness thinking of God's love, our joy in Him will increase.

Is it enough that we tell Him that we love Him? Oh no! We must show Him that love, for He said, "If a man love ME, he will keep My word" (John 14.28). "Follow thou Me," He said to Simon Peter, when Simon declared that he loved Him. What will it cost us to follow Him? Everything - ourselves! "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mark 8.34). We cannot expect to have His joy, if we do not yield our lives to Him. Let us yield ourselves our all to Him in whole-hearted consecration. "That My joy may be in you," He said to His disciples, "and that your joy may be full " (John 15.11). "My joy," the deep joy that filled the heart of the Son, as He did the Father's will. Can this joy be in us ? Yes, this joy!

Let us get alone with God in prayer, if we have been drifting away in heart from Him, and let us make frank confession of our backsliding, and seek cleansing by the blood of Jesus. Let us cry like the Psalmist did in Psalm 51.10-12

Create in me a clean heart, 0 God;

And renew a right spirit within me,

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation:

And uphold me with a free spirit"

If we do truly seek cleansing from all known sin and failure, and if we yield ourselves to God, then the joy of our salvation will fill our hearts. Day by day as we walk with God, rejoicing in Him, we shall know His joy, that deep inexpressible joy that the world can neither give nor take away.