In-joying the Lord, means to walk in joy, live in joy, being joy-filled. This includes celebration, enjoying community, being thankful and recounting all the good things He has done for us.
Deuteronomy 28 may be a familiar passage to you. It is the black and white, the compare and contrast that was offered to Israel as the covenenat with God was laid out. If they obey the Lord, these things would come to them:
- Blessings in the city and the country
- They would be blessed with prosperity: in children, livestock, farming, finances
- The Lord will give rain in it’s season
- They will gain treasure
- They will lend but not borrow
- They will be blessed with children and grandchildren
- They will be the head and not the tail, go up always and never down
All these promises would come as they lived according to the Covenant, but if they didn’t do so, the opposite curse of each of these blessings would fall on them instead. In the middle of the listing of curses, verse 47 is dropped and gives the explanation that at first glance seems strange, until you read a little deeper:
Deut. 28:47 – 48 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.
I did a little word study on the Hebrew words used here and translated “joyfulness,” “gladness” and “of heart.” This verse could be expanded to be translated this way…
Because you did not serve the Lord with (great joy, with delight, festivals, happiness, celebration, pleasure, rejoicing) and with the (prosperity, goodness, and good things of your heart, the seat of your emotions and passions, from your interior)
It is clear through this passage, that serving the Lord with joy is not just a recommendation for a good life, but actually, absolutely crucial to the life of faith of a believer. Last week, we looked at a real life example of this, as well as some “Joy Killers” in the post, The Joy of the Lord our Strength. Here are some practical ways to stay in-Joy.
- Remember where you came from
- Enjoy His presence
- Build Others Up
- Serve the Lord with a right heart
- Be Generous
- Find joy in relationships
- Share the Gospel and Teach God’s truths
- Set your mind on things above
Thanksgiving week is a chance to remember the goodness of the Lord, and share that with our family. And if we are honest, some of those relationships that sap our joy can be the ones very close to us, keep an intentionality in your vocabulary, both in the mind and out of the mouth, to focus on things above…
Colossians 3:1-4 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.