'At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.'"
As I wrote about the fruit of the Spirit yesterday, I would have never thought that God would allow me to experience joy in the way that He did. My little girl prayed and accepted Christ into her life yesterday evening and when she did, I literally thought that my heart was going to leap from my chest. There is nothing like experiencing the joy that comes from the Lord because He is the giver of our true joy. We as Christians experience moments of fleeting happiness but inner joy flows like a mighty river and can only come from Christ. This incredible experience comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit when we seek after Him and allow Him control of our lives.
The joy I experienced was a joy that comes from knowing my child's name is now written in the Book of Life and knowing that her salvation and identity are now found in Christ alone. It was such a gift and a blessing. In fact, I had planned on cleaning house and finishing some laundry but God had a different plan for me and let me just say how thankful I am that I stopped what I was doing and acknowledged the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart when my little one walked into the room.
As you read Luke 10:21, I love that God chooses to reveal Himself to the children. Here are wise men that have studied and learned but they rely on their own strength and knowledge and have not the faith of a child. God looks to the children, the ones whose faith is great and recognize who He is. There is no doubt in their minds as to who He is because they have not been tainted by the world and so they see Him in a way that our tarnished minds cannot. I cannot even fathom keeping a child from receiving Christ into their life. God planned it that way. He seeks after their soft hearts and begins to move within them in a way that we as adults cannot understand because at times we find that our hearts have become hardened by the doubt and deception of the world. It is our job as parents to recognize, encourage, guide and teach them God's truth and direct their love for Him. When we obey and allow Christ to dwell within us, we are able to experience His Chara-His abiding joy and share this with our children. What an honor and a privilege that He remains within us and that the same joy that filled Christ, fills us too.
Exactly how do we experience this kind of joy? Well scripture tell us to "rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20. The word rejoice in Greek is chairete which means that we should constantly rejoice in the fact that our name is written in the book of life and that our home is in heaven with God. Our fellowship with God is such a privilege and on top of that, we have access to His exciting power. In this, there is real joy because we have everlasting life with God that can never be taken from us and our rejoicing should never end. We also experience joy when we recognize His strength in our lives. As troubles come our way, we can choose to cower and be afraid or we can stand tall in His strength
"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) and encounter the joy of knowing that He alone carried us through our troubled times.
We also experience His joy when we serve and love others out of our obedience to Him because ultimately we are serving Him. There is incredible joy when we choose to minister to others instead of focusing on our own needs and desires. Putting others first will always fill us with great joy.
Now, it must be understood that joy is not an all the time thing. It can be lost and it will be lost at times. When we give and give to others and choose not to seek after Him, we can lose our joy. When we neglect our rest or caring for ourselves, we can become exhausted and lose our joy. Sometimes we may feel as if we are all alone in what God has us doing and all we are doing is setting ourselves us for a spiritual fall, which will take our joy. When we lose our joy, it is because we have given it away because joy comes from knowing that we cannot be defeated because our strength comes from Christ alone. However, there are these things and more that can rob us of our joy, but we can be sure that when we choose to obey His word and abide in Him, our joy in Him is restored.
The fruit of the Spirit stems from the very of heart of God.
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
As we abide in Christ, our attitudes and hearts will then reflect that of Christ. We must cling to Him in all circumstances and refuse to retreat no matter what pressure is placed upon us. We must be "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20), abiding in Him and adhering to His presence. We must rejoice always "rejoice in the Lord always, again I way rejoice" (Philippians 4:8) and no matter what the circumstance when we seek after Him and allow Him control of our lives, then we can experience the Chara joy that He has for us.