Joy in His Presence
By Erin Lamb
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand, Psalm 16:11.
You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence, Psalm 21:6.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law, Galatians 5:22.
Joy definition: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
Have you ever had a friend that you couldn’t wait to spend time with? You just knew you were going to have a good time. You knew there would be laughter, fun, and you hated leaving because being with them was so pleasant. Well, being with God is a million times better than that.
God fills us with joy. You may say, “I spend time with God and I don’t feel joyful.” Yep, been there. Been in that place where quiet time was more like nap time. You knock on heaven’s door, eyes heavy with sleep, and leave just as tired as when you came. Ever been there? Well, follow me on this navigation to finding joy in God.
∙How are we meeting with Him?
In our time with God are we seeking to get to know Him or meeting with Him out of obligation? Anything done out of obligation is not fun. It’s like, “Let me get this over with so I can do something else.”
∙Are we trying to control what happens?
Okay God we are going to meet up and I will do this and then you will do that…Mostly God wants the ability to radically change our agenda. If we are seeking to control what happens, where we go, when we go, and all the details, it will be boring. When we show up and say, “God let’s enjoy today?” that’s when it gets really fun.
∙Are we too serious?
I have found that God laughs and enjoys our laughter. We become so regimented in our worship and time with God. We treat Him like a stranger or boss or dictator. He is not stern or cold. God is a lot of fun! Did you hear me! FUN! God likes to do fun things. He longs to do fun things with us. Whatever we like to do, He longs to do those things with us (unless it’s illegal or immoral). So if you like nature, He wants to go on nature walks with you. If you like spending time with kids, He wants to do that with you. If you like painting, dancing, playing an instrument, even cleaning the house, He longs to be with you. He is not restricted to our Bible reading time and worship gatherings. We are the temple where His Spirit dwells. Therefore, we don’t just commune with Him on the weekend and at small group. He wants 24/7 access to our lives; to be invited into every day activities! That’s where the joy comes in. Knowing that no matter what we are doing, He is there. The Creator of the Universe is with us and His Spirit is filled with love, joy, peace….We have a built in best friend and built in Advocate/Helper.
I can honestly say I never want to go back to life without Him, not just for the sake of missing out on heaven, but for losing the best thing that’s ever happened to me. He’s more fun than anything I have ever done without Him.
∙Are we cultivating relationship?
God wants to be know by us and at first the journey is awkward. I used to feel like I was talking to myself or dead air. But that’s when you keep talking to Him and open your ears to listen. He never intended for us to have a one sided relationship with Him. God wants to be wanted by us. He wants us to seek Him out and keep seeking. He wants a friendship. He wants to be first in our lives. The more time we meet with Him, inquire of Him, ask Him what He is like, open our hearts and lives to Him, the more we get to know Him. And knowing Him is the greatest joy!
∙Have we decided we need God + something else to be happy?
If we are going to God with the idea that we must have something other than Him to be happy we will not find lasting joy. It’s sort of like being invited to a banquet that is filled with delicious treats and delicacies and we decide that we will not be content unless they have a certain dish. We cannot fully enjoy the feast if we are determined to not enjoy what is there. So if in our hearts it’s, “God I will only be happy when I get a better job, or better car, more money, or my spouse changes, or I get a spouse, or have a kid….,” then we will never be satisfied. We must come to Him seeking to enjoy Him and whatever He has to offer, trusting that He keeps nothing good from His kids. He longs to bless us and give us great things. So we ask and enjoy Him as well.
Life will present challenges that come to rob us of joy. The good thing about God is that He knows He is the storehouse of joy. He is not asking us to pretend to be happy or manufacture joy. He says, “Come to Me those who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He says, “Come to Me those who have numerous troubles and sorrows and I will give you joy.” We don’t have to make joy happen. We simply have to go to Jesus. How awesome is that. Sometimes you have to stay in His presence for a long time until the sorrow turns to joy. He does some healing, mending, restoring, and internal work. I promise that anything we give to God He will make it better than before. He always keeps His promises. So let’s trade our burdens for His peace. Trade our sorrows for His joy. Let’s upgrade to life abundantly and enjoy a blessed life.
“Abba I ask that You would increase the fruit of joy in our lives. Help us to laugh, to play, and to enjoy life. We want and need more joy. There are so many mysterious You hide for us, not from us. Fuel our desire to seek them out. Help us to have heaven on earth and not simply exist for heaven to come. Help us to be instruments of joy wherever we go, so people can see how joyful You are. Remove any obstacles to knowing You, being with You, and enjoying You. You are awesome. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit. We love You. In Jesus name. Amen”