LOST JOY

LOST JOY

By Elder Larry Wise

   We have many natural joys that we experience in life such as the joy of
a child born into our family. The Bible says that a woman is in travail in
childbirth; however, when the child is born she remembers no more the anguish
for the joy that a child is born into the world. (John 16:21). Paul tells
Timothy to charge the people rich in this world’s goods not to trust in
uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to
enjoy. (I Tim. 6:17). These natural joys pale in comparison to the spiritual
joy we have in the Lord of glory. Paul lists joy as the second fruit of the
Spirit in Galatians 5:22 so without the Spirit there can be no spiritual joy.

     We have spiritual joy when we have experienced the deliverance of the
Lord and have been made to know the reality of that deliverance. David had
experienced great deliverance from the hand of the Lord and rejoiced in God but
he fell into sin and committed adultery with Bathsheba. Nathan, the prophet,
came to him and exposed his great sin so that David acknowledged his
transgression. The remembrance of his transgression brought great anguish to
the soul of David and he was made to cry out in Psalm 51:12, “Restore unto me
the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” If David prays
that God would restore to him the joy of thy salvation, it must mean that he
had “lost” that joy he previously had.

     We know that our eternal salvation and deliverance is always secure, and
there is no danger that we can ever lose that salvation. We are kept by the
power of God through faith unto salvation and ready to be revealed in the last
time. (I Peter 1:5). This salvation was wrought by the obedience of Christ.
However, there is a joy that we gain by trusting in the Lord and being obedient
to His commands. Isaiah tells us, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust,
and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is
become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of
salvation.” (Isa. 12:2-3). Jesus Himself tells the disciples, “If ye keep my
commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s
commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that
my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:10-11).
Will our joy remain and be full or will it be lost? The answer depends upon our
actions in response to what the Lord has done for us.

David had lost his joy because he had transgressed the laws of God and
begs God to have mercy upon him and blot out his transgressions. When we are
mourning over our sins, our joy is lost, but the Lord has the oil of joy for
mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (Isa. 61:3).
David desires that his joy be restored because he had lost it. David was one of
the great men in the Bible but he lost the joy of thy salvation because of sin.
We can lose the joy of our salvation by letting the world take the place of
Christ in our lives. Not only do we lose our joy, but we ourselves are lost.
We’re not lost and going to hell, but we are lost from the joy and fellowship
of the Father. The prodigal son wasted his substance in riotous living. When he
repented and returned home, his own father said concerning this son, “…he was
lost, and is found…” (Luke 15:24).

We’ll not find joy out in the world like the Prodigal son; we’ll find
joy and maintain joy by staying as close to the Lord as possible. We have the
promise of God by the apostle James, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh
to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double
minded.” (James 4:8). May we all be cognizant of the word of God and not rebel
against Him with a consequence of lost joy. The more time we spend with the
Lord and His people, the more joy we will have in the Lord. I’m afraid there
are many of the Lord’s children who have lost their joy but haven’t come to the
realization of what has happened. May we all use preventive maintenance and
prevent having to pray the prayer of David to “restore unto me the joy of thy
salvation.”!

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