READ OUR BLOG

Joy During Changing Circumstances

By SHAYNE PHILANDER
PUBLISHED 25 MARCH 2020

One of the great gifts granted after salvation is the reality of God’s divine joy in one’s life. Although attempting to describe joy is challenging since it is more a disposition than something concrete. As 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him…you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible”. One quickly realizes that joy is something different from mere momentary happiness. To be happy is more a cause and effect scenario. Meaning, a person can be happy about something they received; given the thing carries the quality to make them happy. For it’s not the cellphone per se that brings a person happiness; it is more the fact that they received an iPhone and not something cheap. Thus, happiness is more a controlled and calculated moment. Whereas, joy is a constant state of being and confidence in the Lord (and his truth) despite one’s circumstances.

Sadly, as much as joy is one of the great gifts available for the Christian. The fact that so many Christians never experience such a glorious affection is unfortunate, if not a sin. Understandably, life is not as straight forward as one would like it to be. People face unforeseen difficulties, problems and pain daily. Not to mention that we live in the time where more people are depressed and committing suicide than ever before. Nonetheless, the joy of the believer is exactly the stabilizer available during such tough times.

The apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10-12, reasons in exactly this way. Saying, his joy in the Lord is the deep foundation of why he knows how to handle ever changing circumstances. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly…(because) I have learned in whatever situation to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need”.

Here is a clear picture of joy surfacing from the inside-out. Not because of changing circumstances as if it was mere happiness. On the contrary, the apostle was joyful because of his deep contentment in the Lord. And so, he follows by saying, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (v13). Which is an echo of his earlier thoughts concerning the ministry attacks he was facing (1:15-19). He says, “What then, only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” (v18-19). Then in chapter 4:4, speaking about feeling anxious “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice”. This is to say, joy functions independently from the trials the Christian faces. Trials come and go and may change form, but joy is the constant therapy of God in the heart.

Mark Jones in his book The Prayers of Jesus, points out that Jesus’ joy is the very basis for the Christian’s joy. Given the fact that, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). And Jesus possessed the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). Jesus’ Spirit given joy is not only infinitely more but also the foundation and standard of their joy. And his overflow of joyfulness could be seen under the most cruel and humiliating circumstances. “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb 12:2). To which Jones explains that, Jesus’ joy was part of him being anointed by the Spirit to accomplish his earthly mission (Luke 4:1,14,18). In other words, Jesus, even to the point of facing death and for the sake of the Christian’s joy always had joy in his life.

Therefore, the absence of joy in the Christian’s life is unacceptable. James 1:2 is right, the Christian must “Consider it all joy, when [they] meet trials of various kinds”. All to say that, if there are trials to face joy must be ever present. To put it another way, for the Christian a pandemic like the Coronavirus should not determine whether joy is present or not. Instead for the Christian, this momentary circumstance ought to shrink under the density of their joy in Christ.

One of the great gifts granted after salvation is the reality of God’s divine joy in one’s life. Although attempting to describe joy is challenging since it is more a disposition than something concrete. As 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him…you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible”. One quickly realizes that joy is something different from mere momentary happiness. To be happy is more a cause and effect scenario. Meaning, a person can be happy about something they received; given the thing carries the quality to make them happy. For it’s not the cellphone per se that brings a person happiness; it is more the fact that they received an iPhone and not something cheap. Thus, happiness is more a controlled and calculated moment. Whereas, joy is a constant state of being and confidence in the Lord (and his truth) despite one’s circumstances.

Sadly, as much as joy is one of the great gifts available for the Christian. The fact that so many Christians never experience such a glorious affection is unfortunate, if not a sin. Understandably, life is not as straight forward as one would like it to be. People face unforeseen difficulties, problems and pain daily. Not to mention that we live in the time where more people are depressed and committing suicide than ever before. Nonetheless, the joy of the believer is exactly the stabilizer available during such tough times.

The apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10-12, reasons in exactly this way. Saying, his joy in the Lord is the deep foundation of why he knows how to handle ever changing circumstances. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly…(because) I have learned in whatever situation to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need”.

Here is a clear picture of joy surfacing from the inside-out. Not because of changing circumstances as if it was mere happiness. On the contrary, the apostle was joyful because of his deep contentment in the Lord. And so, he follows by saying, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (v13). Which is an echo of his earlier thoughts concerning the ministry attacks he was facing (1:15-19). He says, “What then, only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” (v18-19). Then in chapter 4:4, speaking about feeling anxious “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice”. This is to say, joy functions independently from the trials the Christian faces. Trials come and go and may change form, but joy is the constant therapy of God in the heart.

Mark Jones in his book The Prayers of Jesus, points out that Jesus’ joy is the very basis for the Christian’s joy. Given the fact that, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). And Jesus possessed the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). Jesus’ Spirit given joy is not only infinitely more but also the foundation and standard of their joy. And his overflow of joyfulness could be seen under the most cruel and humiliating circumstances. “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb 12:2). To which Jones explains that, Jesus’ joy was part of him being anointed by the Spirit to accomplish his earthly mission (Luke 4:1,14,18). In other words, Jesus, even to the point of facing death and for the sake of the Christian’s joy always had joy in his life.

Therefore, the absence of joy in the Christian’s life is unacceptable. James 1:2 is right, the Christian must “Consider it all joy, when [they] meet trials of various kinds”. All to say that, if there are trials to face joy must be ever present. To put it another way, for the Christian a pandemic like the Coronavirus should not determine whether joy is present or not. Instead for the Christian, this momentary circumstance ought to shrink under the density of their joy in Christ.

83 Janssens Avenue
Table View
Western Cape
021-557-2712

DONATION

 

St Matthews Church
Table View
Standard Bank
Bayside
Cheque Account
Acc No.: 271222352
Branch Code: 022209

2019 © St Matthews Church. All Rights Reserved.