The Force of Joy
By: Roberts Liardon
In the midst of believing God for a miracle this Christmas season, or even in the midst of spiritual war, we should know how to have joy. We don’t need a new baptism of joy, we need to return to the joy we once had. We need joy to permeate our hearts! King David proclaimed:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12 (NKJV)
Do you know what David meant when he asked God to “restore the joy of salvation?” He was asking for the joy of God’s salvation to spread from his spirit into his mind and emotions.
Happiness Is Temporal But Joy Is Eternal
I’m not referring to “happiness.” Happiness is an emotion of the soul that is based on the circumstance around you. It’s good to experience happiness of the soul; but happiness comes and goes. If things are good, we’re happy. If things are bad, we’re sad. Happiness is based on a circumstance of the moment but joy is an eternal substance and force. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit; not an emotion of the soul. Joy is the strength of the Lord within us, causing us to triumph over every situation. Because joy is eternal, it is not based on circumstances. It doesn’t matter if things are good, bad, different, pretty or ugly; joy remains the same! Joy was deposited within us at the point of salvation. It is our duty to bring it forth in our lives and cultivate the fruit of it.
Joy causes us to keep focus, to hear the Word of the Lord accurately. Joy causes prosperity to come to us, because the force of joy gives out. Depression, the opposite of joy, is turned inward. Joy is outward and expressive. It gives freely, without fear. There are no “strings” attached to joy, because it a force that always attracts, conquers and wins. It has the ability to knock out worry, depression and distress. Cares pull us out from the faith and glory of God. The force of joy keeps us intact in our faith. We can go through any trial and trouble. That’s why it is called our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations….”
Notice that James was talking to the brethren—that’s us! He said to “count it all joy” when various trials come. In other words, he says to chose joy over the circumstance. The circumstance will change or fade away. Temporal situations are going to change. James said to not go under the trial, over it or around it. He said, “Choose to use the force of joy within you and blast through the trouble!” Remember the old song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart?” Well, bring it up and wear it on the outside!
How do we bring the joy up from within us and wear it on the outside? David gave us the right answer in Psalm 51. He entered into the presence of the Lord to restore his joy. In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy. (Ps 16:11) David did not simply seek an outward manifestation of joy; he sought God to change his heart within by giving him a clean, persevering, steadfast spirit. He didn’t ask God for something new. He said, “Restore the joy You’ve already given me.”
When we enter into the presence of God, everything He is and everything He has becomes a present reality to us. Trust and faith are predominant. Revelation comes to us. Peace will rule past our mental understanding. Fear, harassment and hardship fade away. God is King of the universe! When God is for us nothing can stand or prevail against us. In His presence, we receive His attributes. Whether the situation changes or not, the joy of our inheritance will radiate from us and we can walk through any fire and not be burned.
Isaiah 52:9 says we have to, “break forth into joy.” How do you break forth? From the inside out! We have to pull up the strength and joy from our inner man and allow that force to break though depressing emotions and cares.
When someone is walking in the Spirit, they have joy. You cannot be in the Spirit and not have joy.
Years ago, I was criticized for being too joyful. I almost believed it and thought, “Well maybe I am too happy.” I tried to be sober when I saw people healed, delivered and saved. It didn’t work! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit!
Some believers have never experienced the joy side of the Christian walk. They think the only way to pray is to “cast their burdens” over on the Lord. That is one part, yes. But there is another side of fellowship with the Lord. We not only have the ability to through Jesus to come boldly to the Throne of Grace with burdens; but we also have the ability to bounce in with joy and hear His plan.
There are certain things that rob us of joy. We can’t be robbed of something we don’t possess, so we have to guard our joy. Trials, temptations and unnecessary curiosity are some of the robbers.
When trials come, if we don’t maintain the fruit of joy, we will become critical and judgmental. Don’t touch what doesn’t belong to you. Stay in the joy of “your” salvation. I’m not saying that joy is uncaring or oblivious to trouble. I am saying that the proper way to help another is to never lose the joy of what God has done for you and in you. The force and fruit of joy in you can help another see their trials clearly. It can help them see the steps out of their trials and set them free. When we stay in the joy of our salvation it produces thankfulness inside of us. When we stay in that consciousness, God has an open channel to bless us. When more blessings come to us, we can lean to properly use them, live in them, work with them and enjoy them. Joy maintains the abundant life.
Some people say, “Well God never blesses me.” It’s probably because they are always poking around in someone else’s blessing or problem, never remaining conscious of their own communication with Heaven.
Then some people say, “Well, I believe we need to get out of this ‘blessing’ realm.” If you stay with God, there is no realm outside of the “blessing” realm! If you walk out of that realm, you’re walking straight into works of the flesh and out of grace and joy.
We have to maintain joy in our everyday lives. Joy helps you keep your commitment to God. No matter how exciting or interesting your lifestyle may seem, it will go bad without the joy of God. I’ll use myself for an example. In the natural, I, Roberts Liardon, can get tired of hotel rooms and airplanes. Just like everyone else, I enjoy being in my own home. A traveling ministry isn’t always as glamorous as it may appear. Nothing around you, except your clothes belongs to you. As a result, I have to find joy in the midst of a hectic airport, busy stewardesses and tired travelers. And hotel rooms are interesting. They all look the same and they all smell the same. There’s nothing exciting about a hotel room. Even the pictures they hang on the wall are usually boring.
But keeping joy as a mainstay causes me to enjoy my lifestyle and call. If I’m off the road for very long, I can hardly wait to start on schedule again. We must find our joy in the things of Heaven, or we can become disillusioned. Joy is the balancing force between the soul and the spirit. What we rejoice over will be what consumes us.
Because joy is a force, we must learn to direct it. We can target it into a certain area of our lives and benefit from it. It’s similar to electricity. When we direct a lamp cord into a socket, it will give us light. When we direct joy into an area of need or darkness, that force will bring the Light of God into the situation.
Joy is also a strong delivering force. In Acts 16, we read of Paul casting a spirit of divination out of girl in Philippi. When the evil spirit left her, she could no longer bring in money for her masters. As a result, the masters had Paul and Silas arrested and beaten. The Bible says that they were beaten with “many stripes.” (v. 23) After the beating, they were taken to jail and their feet were fastened into stocks.
Did Paul and Silas complain? Did they cry and wail and moan? Did they blame God and want to die? Did Silas criticize Paul and say, “I told you not to confront that girl!” Or, “I am never preaching with you again Paul!”
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26 (NKJV)
If you continue reading the verses, you’ll find the jailor was awakened by the commotion and tried to kill himself thinking that the prisoners had escaped. Paul told him they were all still there, and the jailor fell to his knees, asking how to be saved. Before the night was over, the jailor’s entire family was saved and baptized. What a story!
Now, you may never be beaten in the natural. But you can be beaten in the spirit by the words of people; by rejection, hurts, wounds, betrayal and frustrations. Your back may never bleed from a whip; but when your heart is bleeding from vicious words you need to break forth into joy and sing “new songs” to God.
Notice the other prisoners “heard them.” When you are emotionally devastated, you may need to sing and pray loudly to drown out the ache and eco of your soul. If you don’t use all of your focus to direct your joy, your song may not get past your hurt. Fervent prayers and fervent songs come when your head and your emotions become one with your spirit.
When Paul and Silas prayed and sang fervently, God shook the earth and loosed their bonds! Joy is a delivering force! Joy will loose you from the bonds that hold you! When you break forth into joy the words of people don’t seem as powerful as they did before. Joy heals the wounds of your soul! Even the devil doesn’t seem to have the same fury as he did before, because the joy inside of you has burst forth into the strength of God!
Romans 14:17 says the Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to have joy in the Holy Spirit? It means you are enjoying His presence, how He moves, what He does and how He acts. It means you enjoy doing what He tells you to do.
God wants you to enjoy Him. He likes to relate to you. He gave joy as a part of His Kingdom for a reason. We can get too serious if we don’t keep it balanced with the joy side of the Holy Spirit. Joy gives you another side of the Trinity. When we operate in joy it attracts the things of Heaven to us. God will reveal another side of His personality and character to us through the vehicle of joy.
I enjoy my staff. In the ministry together, we have a lot of fun and a lot of joy. We have to. As the leader, I try to keep the joy level full at all times. We have prayer meetings, we worship God, and we work through problems and find answers together. Every time I come home, we all get together and go out to a restaurant. I tell them what God did in my meetings, how many were saved, healed and delivered. That brings joy. Then I tell them the most hilarious thing that happened and we roar with laughter! They tell me their personal stories and we laugh some more. Laughter is good for the spirit, soul and body. We’re always the most joyful bunch in the whole restaurant. The waitresses love us. Everyone wants to be a part of joyful happenings. The joy of God attracts the world!
You can pray your way out of a problem, or through the joy of the Holy Spirit, you can laugh your way out. Choose to be joyful in the midst of hardship. We need to be open for God to manifest Himself through joy. You can laugh and cry at the same time; but when you come out on the other side, you can thank God for a clean heart that attracts the world.