Ok, I wanted to do more about joy, but I'm honestly having trouble finding much detailed information. This kind of surprises me, but for whatever reason, that's the way it is. Maybe it's because joy is so often linked to suffering and having joy in the midst of trials. Maybe it's not an easy subject to cover. I just don't know.
I did finally find some writing on the subject of joy in Kent's collection of Spurgeon's sermons. I have actually never looked through this series before, and wow I had no idea what I was missing! I love the old language, it flows so wonderfully off the page and reminds me of Oswald Chambers' writing a bit.
In one of his sermons he digs into 1 John 1:4, "And these things we write to you, that your joy may be full". I wouldn't think you could write a whole sermon on one little verse like that, but after reading just a bit it amazes me what he is able to pull out of that one short verse. I don't want to just give you quote after quote, but the ideas a language are so well woven it will be hard to put it into my own clumsy words. But I'll do my best!
For tonight, let's just look at the first point: Our joy needs looking after.
If joy were easy, if it came naturally, this wouldn't have needed to be written. Instead, God inspired John to write a whole book with the goal that our joy would be full. He (God) knew that we would need encouragement. He knew we would face trials and tribulations that would drag us down and cause us to take our eyes off of Christ and our blessed hope. So what did God do, in His infinite love for us? He gave us His Word to encourage us, to give us hope and to help us keep our joy. Our joy is centered on Him and when we become distracted by the sin and suffering we encounter we need God's Word and God's people to help us refocus on Him.
We must look after our joy and nurture it, help it grow and cause it to flourish because it can so easily be beaten down.
I pray that you and I will take the time we need to tend to our joy and to encourage it to grow that our joy may be full!