Joy Comes in the Morning

 “But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b NKJV) Holman Bible Dictionary[1] defines “Joy” as “the happy state that results from knowing and serving God” and it goes on to say “Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God.”  We should not confuse the word “joy” as synonymous with “pleasure.”  Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3: 2-5[2] “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”  Satan often uses pleasure as a snare and trap for men.  Let’s face it; we are just suckers for that immediate gratification that pleasure seems to bring.  But on the other hand, most of us guys cringe when someone uses the word “joy” in our presence because it is just not perceived to be a manly trait.  While we may find discomfort with the word, we cannot deny that every man has a hole in his soul that only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can completely fill.  Satan attempts to use worldly pleasures to distract and destroy a man’s ability to find the one and only way to fill that spiritual void.

     Solomon gives us a very clear understanding of how the life of pleasure-seeking does not fill the void in a man’s soul.  He says “I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.  “Laughter,” I said, “is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?”  I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.  I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.  I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.  I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.  I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man.  I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.  I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.  Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” For those who seek to fill their spiritual void with pleasure, they find themselves feeling empty, unfulfilled and disillusioned.

God’s man understands that the joy God offers is far more satisfying than the temporary satisfaction that pleasure can bring.  He knows that joy is not based on situations or surroundings but on how close his daily walk is with his Heavenly Father.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”[3]  Joy is defined as a “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5 so in order for us to experience that fruit we have to be led by the Holy Spirit.  This is an interesting concept since many men find themselves in conflict rather than in harmony with the Holy Spirit.  David tells us “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. “[4]  The joy of our salvation is greatest when we are in communion with the Holy Spirit.  In order for us to experience that level of joy we have to reject our spirit and be relying upon the Spirit (Holy Spirit).  It is when we fall prey to our own spirit that we find ourselves being drawn back into the pleasure-seeking, immediate gratification kind of life.  In order for our joy to be made complete we have to daily dedicate ourselves to a relationship with the Sprit while rejecting the personal spirit that requires us to depend on self and self-sufficiency.

Peter tells us “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”[5]  By faith we are saved and through this faith we can experience an “inexpressible and glorious joy” because God has promised us the “salvation of our souls.”  Not only has He made this promise but He has provided the Holy Spirit to guide, counsel and comfort us as we travel life’s journey. No matter what life may throw our way, if we are walking in the Spirit rather than relying on our own spirit then we will experience that wonderful joy that comes in the morning.

[1] Holman Bible Dictionary, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991

[2] All scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Philippians 4:6&7

[4] Psalm 51:8-13

[5] 1 Peter 1:3-9

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