Frequently a song from the past will come to mind, and I have difficulty getting it out of my mind.  It becomes somewhat of a temporary obsession.  Such, this morning, was the hymn, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.” The tune is by Beethoven (1824), and the words by Henry van Dyke (1907).  Sadly, it is not in our song books.  Anyway, it brought to my mind how needed, in our relationship to God, is the emotion of joy—pure and unadulterated joy.  This theme is frequent in Scripture.

Such joy is even available to us in our darkest hours.  We are given an amazing picture in Acts 16:22-25 of two men, the apostle Paul and his fellow-laborer, Silas, as they “prayed and sang praises unto God.” What is so amazing about it is that they had been unmercifully scourged, put in chains, and then thrown into a prison cell.  Who would expect to see a joyful prayer and praise service in such circumstances! Paul and Silas had found what everybody wants—JOY.  As a result, an earthquake set them free, and the jailor and his household believed on Christ, and were baptized.

Part of my ministry as a preacher of the Gospel is to point people to the true source of joy—Jesus Christ.  Paul wrote the Philippian church, “I shall continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith” (Phil. 1:25). and encouraged them to “rejoice in the Lord always” (4:4).  He had found joy in Christ and shared that joy with others.

True joy is not found in the passing pleasures of this world, but in Him who said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

Someone once observed, “Joy grows on the Christian tree.” Have you found this joy?

-Ron Bartanen lives in Sullivan, IL and preaches for the Arthur Church of Christ in Arthur, IL