I woke up one morning with a children’s song in my head. It was ‘I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart’. Later that day we were doing an Ellel creativity workshop and making felt hearts. So, I sewed the word ‘joy’ on mine and decorated it with sequins. The back of my felt heart was blue, which is the colour of sadness. I didn’t decorate that side.
There was a time, many years ago, when I had a lot of depression in my life, resulting from suffering traumas and bereavement. I began to search for God and, after six years, I became a Christian. After another four years, there came a day when the Lord Jesus changed my life and filled me with His Holy Spirit and with joy. The depression of many years left me, and I wanted to thank Him for giving me life. I was able to pray and sing in a heavenly prayer language. I no longer needed to go to the false comfort I had been using to give myself confidence. So, this little felt heart is a visual aid to remind me how sadness can be changed to joy by the Holy Spirit.
I looked in the Bible to find out where Jesus had talked about joy. Before going to the cross, at the last Passover meal, He warned His disciples that He was going away and at that time they would lament and weep and be sorrowful. But this sorrow would give way to joy in His presence when He returned to them. “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy… So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:20 & 22).
He told them to ‘abide’ in Him, just as a branch abides in the grapevine and is joined to it. They were to ‘abide’, or remain, in His love and keep His commandments. This was exactly how Jesus had remained in the heavenly Father’s love and kept His commandments. He then said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11).
However, it was hard for the disciples to believe those words of Jesus after He was taken and crucified on the cross. Even when He physically appeared to them after the resurrection, some of them couldn’t believe it really was Him. Luke’s Gospel says, ‘As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched’ (Luke 24:40-43).
But the words of Jesus were true, and their sorrow was turned to joy, and this joy remained within them all their life. Nothing and no one could take it away. They were witnesses of the resurrection, and Jesus taught them many things before He ascended to heaven. After the Holy Spirit came upon them, they received power and were confident, courageous, bold evangelists wherever they were sent by the Lord.
We do not see the resurrected Jesus with our physical eyes as they did, but, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we experience His presence and are filled with joy. There is so much sorrow in this life, but times of wonderful joy, as we draw close to our Lord Jesus and worship Him.
Also, we can rejoice at every testimony we hear of others giving their lives to Jesus and the wonderful way He is working in their lives. Joy lifts our spirits and strengthens us. King David prayed, ‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit’ (Psalm 51:12).
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.