Do you know what your name means? I've always been fascinated with names
and their meanings, and when I discover a baby name book at a thrift store
I find it very hard to resist adding another volume to my "collection."
There's so much to a name: besides it's actual meaning, a name comes
with a stereotype - which varies greatly according to culture and individual
experience. When writing stories, one of my favorite parts is finding the
perfect name for each character. :-) God tells us that "a good name
is rather to be chosen than great riches" (Prov. 22:1) - one's character,
reputation, and name are so closely intertwined that each affects the rest.
As long as I can remember, I have been thankful for the name my parents
gave me. For many years the meaning of my first name has been an inspiration
to me - "A Source of Joy" or "A Father's Joy." Recently I found myself
wondering how I could truly "live up to my name," so I have been studying
what the Bible says about joy. I was amazed at how many times the words
"joy" or "rejoice" are used - it's a very important topic! As one of my
favorite quotes says, "Joy is the echo of God's life in us" - it is the
infallible proof to the world that God's ways are best.
WHO IS THE TRUE "SOURCE OF JOY"?
(If you would like to know more about having a joyous
relationship with Christ, please click
We can strive all our lives to discover joy and peace, but we will
only find them when we have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus
Christ. This is clearly shown in John 15: after explaining how believers
must abide in Christ to bear fruit, He says, "These things have I spoken
unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full"
(vs. 11). The Psalmist is in agreement - "In Thy presence is fullness
of joy" (Ps. 16:11). Only by always fearing the Lord and acting accordingly,
will we find true joy. The "joy" of the world simply cannot be compared
WHEN SHOULD WE HAVE JOY?
The answer here is simple - always! "Rejoice in the Lord alway:
and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). This may seem like an impossible
command (and, yes, it is a direct command, not just a gentle suggestion!)
until we realize that joy is not an emotion (though it may be accompanied
by joyful feelings) - it is an act of the will. Joy is independent of circumstances,
and only the true joy of the Lord can endure through any difficulty. "Joy
is the component that, when added to a trial, provides the strength to
endure it" - "For the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). "Joy
is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ" (William VanderHaven).
I often have to be reminded many times to rejoice through a trial -
it is not at all my natural reaction! 1 Pet. 3:14, 4:14; and Matthew 5:10-12
are encouraging reminders. When we, through faith, fully believe that "all
things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28), we
will be able to thank the Lord not matter what happens! As we are living
in His will, He won't allow anything to come into our lives except what
is for our best! It is so important to build a habit of praising the Lord
no matter what come our way - then we will be exercising the joy of the
Lord, and we will be a wonderful testimony to the watching world.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!
Even when all is dark around us, we still have so much to be
thankful for! Besides the fact that God is working our trials out for our
good, we have countless blessings to be joyful for. Many verses remind
us of this.
We should rejoice because:
We should rejoice in:
- We believe in Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-9)
- We are partakers of Christ's sufferings (1 Pet. 4:12-13)
- Christ keeps us from falling and presents us faultless (Jude 1:24)
- We have salvation (Ps. 35:9)
- God is on our side (Duet. 33:29)
- God has helped us (Ps. 63:7)
- Our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20)
This is just a small sampling of all we have to rejoice in -- the Lord
has done so much for us!! Meditating on any of these verses is a
sure remedy for discouragement and lack of joy.Another project I did a while back was to actually write out an alphabetical list of things I am grateful for -- it was very insightful!
- Every good thing from God (Duet 26:11)
- The Lord and His salvation (1 Sam. 2:1; Ps. 9:14)
- The hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2)
- Tribulations (Rom. 5:3-8)
- Hope (Rom. 12:12)
- Other Christians (1 Thess. 2:19-20)
HOW CAN I BE A SOURCE OF JOY?
This was something I pondered for quite some time, seeking specific
instruction in the Scripture of how to bring joy to others. Now I realize
that when someone has the true joy of Christ, it will shine out of their
life in such a way that it can't help but "rub off" on everyone around
them. Joy, like yawns, smiles, and laughter, is highly contagious, and
a joyful person will spread joy around without any conscious effort to
Also, as we are sensitive to God's leading, He will show us those whose
lives need brightening. There are countless ways to encourage others -
a cheerful word and smile, a small gift, a listening ear, or a helping
hand. What are some ways you have brought joy to others?
Prov. 23:15, 24-25 speaks specifically of how to bring joy to our parents
-- by being wise. Again, this goes right back to a right relationship with
God, for "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
I have been very convicted by this study of joy, and though I so desire
to "live up to my name" and display it to those around me, I often fail
miserably. Let's pray for each other as we continue to grow in Christ every
What produces Joy?
1. Our eternal salvation
2. A good conscience
3. The stautes of God's Word
4. The commands of the Lord
5. The rhemas of Scripture
6. The giving of a wise answer
7. The tests of persecution
8. The spiritual growth of our disciples
9. The power of the Holy Spirit
10. The confidence of a job well-done
What are the Steps to Experience Joy?
(1 Chron. 16:8-11 and Ps. 105:1-4)
1. Give thanks unto the Lord
2. Call upon His name
3. Make known His deeds among the people
4. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him
5. Talk ye of all His wondrous works
6. Glory ye in His holy name
7. Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord
8. Seek the Lord and His strength
9. Seek His face continually
Joyfulness is the bright spirit and radiant countenance that come by being in full fellowship with the Lord.