December 26, 2014
READ: Psalm 43:1-5
There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy (v.4).
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your level of joy?
When a friend was asked this question, her reply was “1.” She shared, “I’m happy, living a relaxed life, doing what I want, but I am not joyful.”
Clearly there’s a distinct difference between happiness and joy. Author Oswald Chambers offers this explanation: “Joy is different from happiness, because happiness depends on what happens. There are elements in our circumstances we cannot help; joy is independent of them all.”
So where can we find joy? In God!
The numerous commands to rejoice in Him (Psalms 5:11, 9:2, 32:11, 40:16; Philippians 3:1, 4:4) show that it’s possible for all believers—regardless of temperaments—to experience the joy of the Lord. And because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can rejoice in His attributes as well as His actions during good days and bad days.
The author of Psalm 43 knew this truth objectively, but subjectively he felt sad and discouraged. I’m sure we can all identify with him. Let’s look at what he did to find joy again: firstly, he spoke to God about his circumstances (vv.1-4). But more than simply asking God for deliverance, he asked for light and truth that would guide him to God and His exceeding joy. Secondly, he spoke to his soul (v.5). Preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones described the importance of preaching to ourselves: “Have you realised that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”
Let’s learn from the psalmist. Preach hope to your soul when your circumstances are speaking of despair. Tell yourself: “Hope in God,” “praise Him again,” for He is “my Saviour and my God!” (v.5). —Poh Fang Chia
365-day plan› 1 John 3:1-24
Read Luke 10:17-22 to discover what made Jesus rejoice greatly and what could prompt us to rejoice.
What brings you joy? What does it mean for you to find joy in the Lord?