Joy and Happiness

By: Joseph H. Murray


   Happiness and unhappiness are conditions that are experienced because of things that happen or do not happen. On the other hand, joy is an exhilaration of the spirit; gaiety; gladness; or joyfulness. Joy of the Lord is a condition experienced through the inner man and is not interrupted by things that happen or do not happen. As it was in olden times, even so it is today that “The joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Neh. 8:10). “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).

   The only thing that can break the flow of joy is to be out of fellowship with God. David found this to be true when he sinned concerning Uriah the Hittite’s wife, with whom he committed adultery. He braced himself and cried for mercy in these words: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit” (Ps. 51:7–12).

   We need to be seriously concerned about our half–hearted interest in our service of the Lord, for there is a “woe [on those who] are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1). To labor in the master’s vineyard is a serious business. The psalmist David left us these words: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:5–6).

   All the prophets were in harmony on this subject of joy. Isaiah said this: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:2–3).

   Again, Isaiah wrote, “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa. 35:10).

   The ministry of the anointed of the Lord God has the same purpose that it had in the beginning, that is, “To preach good tidings unto the meek;...to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified” (Isa. 61:1–3).

   Jesus said, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:9–11).

   When we are following this pattern of obedience, we keep the victory. Jesus said again, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23–24).

   Paul, knowing that bondage and afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem, said these words: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

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Listen to this wonderful sermon from Preacher Clark (recorded in the 1970s). A real blessing!

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Please enjoy this wonderful, and sobering, message from Preacher Clark in 1975 - Are You Ready to Meet the Lord?

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