If ever it were clear that joy is no trifling matter, no mere elective in the course of life, it is so in Habakkuk 3:18. The prophet has just acknowledged that even if all the normal or natural causes of celebration are null (no figs, no grapes, no olives, no crops, no flocks or cattle), he would rejoice in the Lord; He would take joy in God His savior. The syntax is strong, indicating a strong resolve to continue rejoicing. Come hell or high water, Habakkuk will keep rejoicing: “I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
I am afraid to consider how often I authorize my own forfeiture of joy. Too much do I give myself too easy reason to choose a lesser and weaker attitude. And truthfully it never works out. Indulging in impatience, anger, pride or fear never, absolutely never, shares the divine dividends that joy does. I welcome the prophet’s testimony of his unyielding commitment to joy. I share in said resolve.
I can trust joy. Joy will always lead me to the highest good; joy will always make me my best self. Joy will always keep my heart and mind and actions congruent with the climate of heaven. When I rejoice, I am agreeing with heaven in terms of who God is (His profound goodness and faithful love), and with regard to the full force of the finished work of Jesus (and the bright realities thereof). I see people, circumstances, opportunities, obstacles, hardships and heartaches, challenges and successes in the light of the prevailing truth of Heaven.
A joy-based climate in my heart is an environment that precludes the presence of anger, anxiety, or fear. Joy is none of the above. Rather, joy is a greenhouse for a host of godly virtues and benefits:
- Joy is gentle (consider how joy and gentleness are neighboring imperatives in Philippians 4:4-5)
- Joy is generous (2 Cor. 9:7)
- Joy is strength (Neh. 8:10)
- Joy is peace and hope (Romans 15:13)
- Joy is healing (Proverbs 17:22)
- Joy is a continual feast (Proverbs 15:15)
- Joy is trust in His Name (Psalm 33:21)
- Joy is being ever aware of His presence (Acts 2:28, Psalm 89:15)
Joy is always the right choice (I Thess. 5:16). Joy will never let me down. My resolve to rejoice transcends the fluctuating circumstances of earth; my joy agrees with the unchanging nature of God. I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
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