Daily Thoughts: The Joy of the Lord
Thoughts from Andrew Bonar on Joy
I have been taught that joy in the Spirit is the frame in which God blesses us to others. Joy arises from fellowship with Him; I find that whatever sorrow or humiliation of spirit presses on us, that it all should give way, in some measure, to a fresh taste of God’s love when going forth to preach.
I was much struck today by a simple thought, namely, that our joys are only beginning! Yes, the joys we have tasted are a mere foretaste. All we get here below is but an earnest and no more. And as truly as our joys are only beginning, so our sorrows are soon ending. They will soon be over–our last tear shed and our last sigh expressed.
Rejoice is as much a command as repent.
Cultivate joy as much as you cultivate honesty and uprightness.
The oil of joy calms down the waves of trouble.
Why should we be afraid to rejoice when God is not afraid to trust us with joy?
Love is the motive for working, and joy is the strength for working.
Would it have been right for the prodigal son to sit at his father’s table in tears, saying, “I just cannot be glad”, when the Father said, “It is right that we should make merry and be glad?”
Love and joy are the two prominent fruits of the Spirit. If you can cherish this glad spirit, you will be a useful witness, even if you never speak a word.
There are far more people make to think by seeing a Christian’s joy than by any words he may speak.
— Andrew Bonar
This has always been a problem in Christianity. The body splits itself into little groups of people who all have the same gifts. As a result we have one little bunch which is all mouth, who do nothing but talk. Another bunch, all feet, are constantly running around in circles. Another group, all ears, just sit and listen. Another group, all brain, sits at studies and tickles its intellectual ears. Another, all hands, is feverishly busy doing and doing and getting nothing done. But without the unity of all the body with its diverse members and gifts complementing each other, nothing is accomplished and every member suffers form the loss of each other.
Can you imagine the frustration and misery of an ear, all its life, trying, struggling, and fretting to see? Oh, beloved brethren! Find where God wants you in the body. Let Him fit you in and do not let anyone try to force you into some other place. The ear has its perfectly normal function to hear. It does it without fret, fuss, or effort–by simply abiding in its place in the body spontaneously serving is purpose with beauty and ease.
‘What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.’ (Psalm 25:12-13)
There was a time not too many years ago when a believer was described simply as a ‘God-fearing man.’ That was before modern thought struck upon the idea that it was dishonoring to the mercy and goodness of God to fear Him, and the shallow “God loves everybody all the time anyway” mentality began. The Bible teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A person who fears God simply thinks of God first and foremost in all his actions, the governing factor being a desire to please Him. It is the motivating emotion that dominates the righteous person’s life.
The person who fears God need fear nothing else. He who does not fear God must fear every other threat, for he has no substantial defense.
The person who fears God will learn, for God Himself will teach him. He will be guided, for the Good Shepherd will unerringly lead him. He will be taught in the right way to go, the right things to do and the right decisions to make.
Many people erroneously expect God to give us a road map, a set of exhaustive instructions so that when any matter comes up all we need do is get out our road maps, or our rule book, our procedure manual, and go ahead. Not so! If that were true, we could take these and walk off from God because we would need Him no more.
Those who fear God, walk with Him. We, indeed, have the Bible which gives us righteous principles, but as for specific details for our everyday mundane living, often we can find no specific directions in the Scriptures.
God will choose for us at the time the choices we need to make. He shall choose our way for us and cause us to walk in that way. Few things are more comforting to the Christian than knowing that the Lord has ordered his steps. That is what is meant by, ‘his soul shall be at ease.’ He is not in a fizz and tizzy all the time wondering if he has made the right choices.
The seed of the righteous are those who have been born from above, begotten by the Spirit. They shall abide forever and inherit all things.
— Conrad Murrell
It is always right and good to pray for the ministry of the Spirit to increase in our lives. We thank the Father for sending the Son and we thank the Son for coming into this world as the Savior. Should we not also pray to the Spirit, to do His special work in our lives?
In reading this morning, as I reflect on beginning a new year of Bible reading, my thoughts are turned to the Spirit’s special role in taking the truth of God’s Word and making it real to me. I will see nothing and gain nothing from the Bible apart from His illuminating work upon my mind and soul. We ought to pray something along this line daily as we read—
“Blessed Spirit of God, You have given me the Bible; You inspired its writing, and You alone can feed my soul today with it; Come and make real the truth to me this morning; come and quicken me with your truth; illumine my mind and soul to see this morning what you eat to say to me, and show me the things of Christ; open my eyes to see wondrous things, fresh things, and things beneficial for me right now. Please make my time in your Word increasingly life-giving and profitable; cause me to increase in desire for the Bible more and more, and take your place more than ever as Paraclete to make real the things of God to my soul. Make my time in your Word become a time in the power and freshness of the Holy Spirit.”
As the hymn-writer said, “Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me.”
– Mack Tomlinson