Psalm 4:7: You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. (NASB)
What should be the source of gladness in our hearts? Is it from things or not? From the focus verse, there are two ways people experience gladness. Its either we have it put in us by God, or we derive from the abundance of things. And the former is more than the latter, more lasting and pervasive and genuine.
When God puts gladness in your hearts it is in the manifestation of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the manifestation of joy. If gladness is derived from things, then it is like drug, the more things you get things the less they satisfy and the more things you will need, and the greater the risk of doing the wrong things to get them, with the bible saying that the love of money is the root of all evil (1Timothy 6:5-10). That need for happiness through acquisition of things, leads to all manner of atrocities; Paul said that those who will be rich in this world will pierce themselves with many sorrows, will dabble into things that will ultimately harm them, joining associations that will mar them.
Jesus said that the life of a man does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses (Luke 12:15). Our life is not defined by our things.
If we don’t have some things in this world, we would have in the world to come, so it is not such a big deal. Paul said that having food and raiment, we should learn to be content. Contentment can be learnt. He (Paul) also said that he has learnt in whatever situation he is to be content (Philippians 4:11), and that we should set our hearts on things of heaven and not the things of the earth (Colossians 3:1-2).
With eternal perspective, we would not be chasing shadows, chasing ephemeral things to the detriment of our souls. Jesus said: beware of covetousness. It means it is easy for it to could creep on us at any time, distracting you from your pursuit of God and his purposes, distracting us from the source of true joy.
Having gladness in the heart is also related to the joy of salvation. Jesus told a Samaritan woman: the water I will give you (in the experience of salvation) will meet your need for joy and happiness, and then you will not seek happiness from what does not really satisfy (John 4:1-38).
Jesus wanted to help her to discontinue seeking satisfaction in men (she was married five times, and was at that time shacking up with another) to not seek fulfilment in things, but to come into relationship with him through faith. Relationship with God has the potential to endlessly satisfy. Jesus said that the water he would give her will be in her a spring of water springing up to eternal life. It meets our inner needs in an endless manner. The water Jesus gives connects with us in our innermost being, flowing as an endless source of satisfaction.
The bible says that out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-38). The same water that flows in heaven, from the throne of God (Revelation 22:1), flows from within us as we have God take His place in us. It is called the stream which makes glad the city of God (Psalm 46:4), i.e. it is the stream of gladness. Paul said: rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 3:1, 4:4).
It is a commandment, a commitment, and conviction. It is a commandment because that is what God wants; a commitment because you know that the grace is available and you only need to choose to walk in the grace; it is a conviction because you know the benefits.
The bible says that we should have hope as an anchor for our soul which goes into the very presence of God, from where our joy is sourced (Hebrews 6:19), where we have God put gladness in our hearts as we set our eyes on heaven (Colossians 3:1-2), and the possibilities that waits for us there. Jesus told his disciples that they should be glad that he was leaving them, because then he will go and prepare a place for them in heaven (John 14:1-3). In another place he said that they should be glad that their names were written in the book of life (Luke 10:20). There is the presence of God in us, as our soul connects with a rope of hope to the reality of eternity of bliss with God.
The bible says that with joy we draw water from the well of salvation with God (Isaiah 12:3); so joy is a major implication of the saving work of Jesus in the heart. Otherwise we would experience dryness, we will feel empty, soon to burnt out and draw back (Hebrews 10:38-39).
To be in the wrong mood, makes us more susceptible to the suggestion to sin. That was the experience of Cain the brother of Abel; when the offering that he made to God didn’t go so well, he became sad, and God warned him that he needed to snap out of it or else he would soon commit sin. He did not and he committed murder. When the emotion of sadness clouds your thinking then it is time to reconnect with the fruit of the Holy Spirit called joy. Joy as fuel (Nehemiah 8:10) sets us in motion to do the right thing.
Joy says you are not under pressure. It is symptom of a heart in connection with God, moving at his frequency, in pace with him, helping us to be useful tool in the hand of God, as we can communicate the joy of heaven. Joy is the sense of security in the love of God. The children of Israel were told not to let go of joy no matter what because the joy of the Lord is our strength, which means we would not be able to serve God effectively except we are joyful.
Do not allow the devil to steal your joy. When we dwell on the assurance of God to us, then we are safe in his love, we move with his ability. In the service of God we are suppose to do everything with a sense of joy. We should serve him with gladness (Psalm 100:2).
- Morning Prayer 1.24.14: Conversion of St. Paul (dailyoffice.org)
- Separating Truth From Fiction: The Book of Colossians (yourgodmoments.wordpress.com)
- Are you tired of being tired? Here’s some encouragement to ease your mind. (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
- Why Truth Matters (blottingoutgod.com)
- The Heart of Hospitality Welcomes Everyone …..we are not our own. (annemariegray.wordpress.com)