Joy to the World!

The hymn-writer, Isaac Watts, had the words 100% correct when he wrote, “Joy to the world! The LORD is come!” Joy is gladness in our soul that radiates to every area of our life. The word “joy” appears at least 165 times in the Bible. Joy is an attribute of the Godhead (Psalm 16:11). It is a fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Jesus states in John 15:11, “these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” And the last part of Nehemiah 8:10 proclaims, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Now go back to the popular phrase by penned by Mr. Watts, “Joy to the world! The LORD is come!” His theology of joy was found in the LORD.

People today are rightfully looking for joy. The problem is that it is possible to look for joy in the wrong places. This becomes apparent when our theology of joy is not built on the LORD. Psalms 16:11 states, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forever-more.” And when we connect that verse with the previous verse which proclaims: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption,” we see that joy is possible because of the death and burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You see, the Lord has come, and He came into this world so that He could die on the cross for our sins. The angel proclaimed on the night that Jesus was born: “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, for there is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Praise the LORD that Jesus Christ was born to die, so that you and I might have “the way” (John 14:6) for our sins to be paid for and that we might be able to enter the presence of the LORD where there is fullness of joy. May our theology of joy both in thought and in practice be based upon the LORD and what He has done in providing salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ!

If our theology of joy is not based on the LORD, we will miss out on the “fullness of joy.” And instead, we will settle for partial joy at best. Even at Christmas time, we can settle for partial joy. There are many joyful blessings of Christmas: being with loved ones and giving and receiving presents. But may I encourage you this Christmas that even if every present on your Christmas wish list comes true, don’t be content with that partial joy. If our joy is based on any-one other than the LORD, we will miss out on fullness of joy. So in the midst of the fullness of this season, remember the lyrics to the familiar Christmas carol, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”
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