If there was one thing I noticed about the 7,000+ women at the Women of Faith conference last weekend, it was the emotion of worship. There was laughter, there were tears, there was delight, there was excitement, there were closed eyes and bowed heads, there were smiles on faces and arms lifted in praise, and over it all - genuine joy.
The dictionary defines joy as:
1. a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
"tears of joy"
synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture;
Let's think about this. When we worship God for who He is; when we thank Him out of true gratitude for what He has provided; when we raise our voices in song to sing His praises...what kinds of things do we feel? Have you ever experienced a sunrise so beautiful that you were filled with elation at the glory of the artwork of God? Have you ever felt His presence so keenly that you couldn't help but laugh with delight? Have you ever sang a worship song in a room filled with hundreds of other people and felt a thrill of excitement race through your whole body?
Here's another definition of joy:
: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
As a Christian, our source of true joy is God. Yesterday, we found in the 15th chapter of John that Jesus tells us to remain in Him...to love Him, and to love others. We discovered that if we follow His command, He will fill us with His joy - and it will be a complete joy.
Psalm 100:2 says: Worship the Lord with glandness, come before Him with joyful songs.
When we come before God, worshiping, praying with grateful hearts or singing songs of joy...the gift of joy comes full circle. God fills us with joy when we serve Him, when we follow His commands, when we spend time with Him - remain in Him...and then we give joy back to Him...when we come with hearts focused on worship. When we lift our voices in joyful song, when we raise our hands in joyful abandon, when we let go of the world and hold fast to our Savior - we give back joy in worship.
Isaiah 49:13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.