One of my favorite hymns is “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” also know as the Hymn to Joy. This song began as a poem written by Henry J. Van Dyke in 1907 with the intention of singing it to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Here are the words to the first verse.
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
There are several reasons why I love this hymn, but one of them is because I grew up in a fire and brimstone denomination. I am thankful for the discipline and teaching I received, but at the same time growing up, we were taught God wasn’t happy and he was always looking for a reason to punish us. I never heard a sermon on Gods love. I also didn’t see people truly joyful. Christianity seemed to be filled with people who were mean spirited and always fussing about something. When the Lord filled me with His spirit it was the first time I felt real love and joy. It was a direct contradiction with everything I had experienced. I have never been the same since that August day in 1980. I sing that song because He has made me joyful and I adore Him for doing it. When we let him in our lives he changes us from the inside out with a love and joy that cannot be done on our own.
The Lord Wants His Joy to Remain in Us
This week I was reading John 15 and in verse 11 Jesus says, “these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” He goes on to talk about how we are to love one another. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was saying that if you don’t have my joy you won’t be able to take the next step and love others. He went on to say that a friend will lay his life down for others. He was talking about himself. He is the friend that we must be willing to lay our lives down. He said it all starts when we abide in him.
Can I ask you a question? Are you joyful today? I mean really joyful. Does joy radiate from your life in such a way that others can see it or has life taken its ugly hands and gripped them around your heart to squeeze out the light of God? We all have challenging days and there are situations and circumstances that come our way that may cause us great pain and difficulty. Jesus said, in this life we would have trials, but if joy is missing then you may need to run back to the Lord and ask Him to fill you back up. How do I know if joy is gone? Well, we become critical and judgmental. We are quick to point out what is wrong rather than what is good and right. We are easily irritated and push people away, especially the ones who need our help.
Joy Loves to See Others Filled with More
On the other hand when we are joyful we love to see others blessed and filled with more. There is a desire to help and share and to spend time with others. Joy causes us to honor others and to reach out rather hide away. Jesus gives the process in John 15. It starts with abiding in him, when we abide in him we receive his joy and his joy inside of us causes us to love others on the outside. Our love begins with loving Him and doing what He asks and then it moves us to love others and then we bear fruit from our relationship with Him. The kind of fruit that follows us where ever we go. I am so thankful that God filled us with his Spirit so that we can truly love ourselves and others in the way He intended.
This week please take the time to watch my thankful video of the week. This week its a clip from the movie “Sister Act 2” as they sing “Joyful, Joyful.” Whenever this movie is on I try to watch the ending when they sing this song. Not only do they sing a great rendition of this song, these kids are truly joyful as they sing this hymn. En-joy it!