Joy in God

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
There is often in ourselves the lack of joy in God, but if we look at the Word of God, it will fix this more upon the spirit. In the opening of Luke, what joy we see among the angels there! What joy on earth in the vessels filled by the Spirit there! Indeed, one feature of the kingdom of God is “joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:1717For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)). Angels may appear together, or alone, as in the person of Gabriel. Witness that fervency of heart and openness of mouth which speaks eloquently of the liberty and gladness of the soul. And the style of the filled vessels, whether it be Mary or Elizabeth, Zacharias or Simeon, or the company of shepherds who had been called into the fellowship of angels, equally tells us that all were satisfied — that if in heaven, so on earth, the presence of the power of “the kingdom of God” was expressing itself in “joy.”
But let us come on to the fifth chapter, and there we shall find that not only angelic heavenly hosts and filled human vessels enter into this joy, but believing sinners likewise. They show it, and in their way they express it.
Look in this chapter at Peter and his companions, at the healed palsied man, at Levi, and then at all the children of the bridechamber. Peter and his companions are at once able to rise up, leave all, and follow Jesus. The palsied man takes up his bed and, rising up, before them all who stood around him, goes home glorifying God. Levi, at the word of power, abandons what is everything to him in this world and makes a feast, and such a feast that exposed him to the rebuke of others.
The children of the bridechamber could not fast; they were afresh introduced to the Person in whom the fullness of joy dwells and reigns, and they could not fast, and the Bridegroom approves their joy.
Thus were the poor believing sinners, as in Acts 13, “filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” They take their place with angels and with filled vessels just to prove (it may be each in his different way) that the one feature of the kingdom of God is “joy in the Holy Ghost.”
The poor cripple, carrying his bed with praises, is as sure and seasonable an expression of this as the angelic chorus over the fields of Bethlehem. Levi’s feast tells this as distinctly as Mary’s song or Simeon’s oracle. All is joy after its own order and in its own way.
And this is the crowning, eternal thing; there is peace; there is entrance into grace or favor; there is hope, but the crowning experience in the praises of the soul is joy — “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1111And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:11)).
J. G. Bellett