Purpose driven joy

Joy —God’s joy— is something most of us don’t seem to have enough of, but truly need more of. The purpose of our joy is not just to make us “feel good” in difficult seasons, but to literally drive the way we view life and live it out for the glory of God’s kingdom. We have the blueprint in none other than Jesus himself.

Therefore, seeing we also are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him that endured such contradiction from sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3 (my bold)

The believer’s  joy, to which the word rejoiceis related, is twofold. First, it offers you a picture of life as it is while simultaneously comforting you in this certain knowledge:  no matter what you endure or where you are, even in the midst of all of the “trials and tribulations”, you will be all right. Take a look in the mirror and tell yourself that real quick!   Secondly, it reinforces truth. Knowing that God’s law is the natural foundation for peace, prosperity and contentment  settles you as you go through. Fundamentally, the joy that Im talking about  is a peace of mind in absolutely certain knowledge that, at the end of it all, eternal life with Christ awaits those who are obedient to the will of God

Joy isnt synonymous with happiness. Too many (saints?) are lusting after happiness, but have no joy. Happiness is based on circumstances. If my circumstances turn out good, then I’m happy. If my circumstances turn out bad, then I’m not happy. The etemology of happiness has its roots in a 1520’s phrase which meant “good fortune”.

But how does that square with 1 Thessalonians 5:18 which says in everything (literally every circumstance) give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you?

Well, it can’t because it has a source malfunction. While the pursuit of happiness is based on the  vicissitudes of life,  joy is based on an unchanging and eternal God. Thus, circumstances do not affect my joy.

Purpose driven joy immediately takes control when life threatens to overwhelm you. When the enemy comes in like a flood. When you have lost something you feel is valuable to you. When things don’t happen like you want them to happen when you want them to happen.

My goal isnt simply to define joy for you, but to remind you of the purpose —and power— of  joy.

David wrote: “Thou dost show me the path of life; in Thy presence there is fullness of joy, in Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11 RSV)

You can run a check to see if your joy is righteous. Check to see if when troubles show up, you seek circumstantial relief or do you hunker down and cling to the promises of God. If you are able to know and confess to yourself that what God has done before, he can do again, your joy is right. If you can take it a step further and confess that even if he doesn’t change the situation, he is still able (reference Daniel 3:16-18), your joy is show nuff right!

David does really set forth a picture of the inner workings of joy. He was a man much acquainted with trouble and pains. Yet his confession always extolled the law of the Lord as his hope for resolution.

The law of The Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of The Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of The Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of The Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of The Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of The Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19

Joy is not ours, it is God’s gift to us. In other words, we have no ability to produce this joy on our own.  God gives us his supernatural joy to help us navigate through the pitfalls of our sojourn. Joy then isnt the product of the natural mind but the product of the Holy Ghost. If it is not a product of the natural mind, then pursuing any solution apart from the guidance of the Holy Ghost will produce very limited and pale imitations of what God intended for you to experience.

GrapesThe concept of joy as expressed in the Bible contains a wealth of synonymous terms but they cannot easily be differentiated. The commonest is simchah translated as “joy,” “gladness,” “mirth”. Then there’s sameah, which means “to be bright,” “to shine”, but generally used figuratively “to rejoice,” “be glad”.  These definitions only define the expression of joy, but its purpose. In this regard, the Word of God presents a much more complex virtue than any definition can adequately express.


Purpose driven joy then is a result of our seeking first the kingdom of God. Too many of us seek after things that do not satisfy. But when we seek God and our place with him, we discover that life really is beautiful (smile right there). We become focused on God and the things of God. We become what I would call seeking saints. We seek to please God and consequently find a reciprocity of joy in our own lives.

Biblical joy is inseparable from right relationship with God. If God is actually present and active in our lives, the joy He experiences  is fulfilled in us PS 16:11. Joy is the sign that your life has truly found its purpose! This, too, is a revelation of God, for no one can come to Him and find the purpose of life unless He, by His Spirit, calls and reveals it.

Purposeful joy motivates us to serve God and accomplish his purpose in our lives.

How could Jesus have joy in the situation he was in? It was excruciating  becoming King of kings, Lord of lords and our High Priest—the Savior of all mankind.  There was a preordained joy in him that confirmed the cross ordeal would come to pass, thus fulfilling the will of God. There was joy in heaven that the plan of God was moving forward, and God would then have more sons and daughters. His suffering on his cross produced joy unspeakable in us as we carry ours.

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.


9 thoughts on “Purpose driven joy

  1. To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! – Proverbs 15:13
    Wonderful post.

    No wonder early Christian martyrs – in fact, martyrs of every generation – could die without resisting, could endure persecution faithfully. The joy of the Lord was their strength. When we read in the book of Acts of how Stephen was stoned to death, and how he saw the Lord as he was dying, we can conclude that he was joyous, for “…In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). Whether we’re in good circumstances or bad, there’s always joy in the presence of the Lord.

    And using the example of Jesus is perfectly fitting, for who exemplified it better than He? He endured to the cross and through the ordeal of the cross with strength, for the joy of the Lord was His strength.

    I desire this joy!

  2. I felt the presence of The Most High While reading this!

    God has blessed us with Joy even when this world becomes seemingly overwhelming.

    I am encouraged!

  3. I had an opportunity to read last night, but was unable to comment. Good Article, was a great blessing to me, and much needed word for today to remind us to Consider Jesus. Thanks Pastor Foster

  4. God bless you JP, I pray the joy of the Lord is your strength as you travel this highway to heaven.

  5. Its not hard to figure out that Christians in American are seekers of happiness rather than Joy. As we see our creature comforts slowly eroding in America we are going to be able to tell who is going to cling to the Lord no matter what.

    In my opinion the part I enJoyed the most with this blog was the talking about having Joy even in the hard times. This is critical because God’s people have Always (OT, NT and today) been hated by the world and persecuted.

    The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.

    Nehemiah 8:10Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

  6. Robert, I agree. Thats why to me Heb 12 has such significance. There has been nothing more difficult that Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. But he focused on the joy set before him. The joy of knowing that his obedience to the death of the cross would shatter the bondage of sin and death. And give us a door to freedom.

    In our “hard times” we must consider him and how he obeyed with joy thus being given a name that was above every other name.

    Oh what joy!

  7. Pastor Foster,

    Again you allow God to use His giftedness in you to obey His call.

    The class you bring, the thoughtfulness you bring to this ministry even when many make accusations of being unloving and judgmental.

    The balance you bring to this blog is not the effort of the human flesh. As anyone who is guided to study, to show himself approved would know with just a little discernment of the Holy Ghost, would know God’s voice through you, displayed by you steadfastness, passion for holiness, being kind and affectionate, and your courage to stand in the face of the enemy is unfounded. – O THAT MANY MEN WOULD FOLLOW YOUR EXAMPLE –

    I can only imagine the lives you have touched, for sinners to be convicted and saints to be edified.

    Thank you my brother. Be of good courage. Your labor will not be in vain. What a wonderful testimony, not just deliverance from a former life, but for a new life with a PURPOSE DRIVEN BY JOY!!!!

  8. God bless you Rob, I really do appreciate your encouragement. Despite the constant attacks on this blog (and myself at times) I remain committed to exposing these false prophets and pied pipers who are leading people into hell. We are constrained by love of lost people, shepherd-less sheep and this great gospel to preach and teach truth. God’s truth is what made me free and I know that it will do the same for others. Thanks for your support of this work.

    Oh, for the joy that is set before me!

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