The Joy of Christianity
"Rejoice always" (1 Thes 5:15). "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Gal 5:22,23).
JOY -- "a feeling of delight, happiness, gladness" (American Heritage Dictionary)
Christians are often thought of by people in the world as sad, dull people who never have any fun and do not enjoy life. Nothing could be further from the truth! (There may be some Christians like that who haven't fully realized that or captured the real meaning of Christianity). The life of a Christian is one of joy, happiness and spiritual prosperity. Joy is part of the fruit (results) of a Spirit led life. The word "joy" is used approximately 60 times in the New Testament. The verb "rejoice" is found more than 70 times! That fact alone should show us that true discipleship is a life of joy! Here are some New Testament examples:
The Wise Men (Matt 2:7-12). The birth of the Messiah was a cause of great joy to the magi. We likewise ought to rejoice that God was willing to send "His only begotten Son" that we might have the hope of eternal life.
The Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). The angels brought "good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people." After the shepherds investigated they were "glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen."
New Converts (Acts 8:8,39; 16:34). The joy of Christianity comes from obedience to God's will. At Samaria, "there was much rejoicing in that city." After his baptism the Ethiopian enunuch "went on his way rejoicing." After the Phillipian jailer and his household were baptized they "rejoiced greatly."
Persecuted Christians (Acts 5:42; 13:50-52). "So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer for His name." That was in Jerusalem. Again, in Antioch of Pisidia, there was a great persecution. They shook the dust off their feet and were "continually filled with joy..." The amazing thing about this joy is that id doesn't depend on outward events going right. Joy is an inner attitude that comes from being right with God and can be experienced even if our external circumstances are difficult. --DB