Complete, untainted joy is unattainable – apart from God.
“In your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16
The fullness of joy Jesus describes in John 15 is dependent upon abiding in Him and living according to His commandments. Another way of putting that is knowing and following after God’s heart. And God’s heart is only understood when looking at the whole story of the Bible. The whole story is that God is on a mission to redeem a people for himself and spread his glory throughout the nations. I am just now realizing how the spread of God’s glory and the experience of joy are related to evangelism.
I’ve always felt like evangelism was a duty, a duty I wasn’t very good at. If opportunities arose I would do my best, but I knew others were more gifted. I looked at it as a subject in school, content to just get a passing grade. But what if sharing the gospel, sharing the love of Christ is intimately related to the heartbeat of God?
Psalm 96 talks about singing to God. All the earth is exhorted to sing to God, to bless God and tell of his salvation. So often I have glossed over verse 3 – “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.” Here is the connection I’ve been missing! Singing and praising God is directly connected to declaring his glory among all the people. Joy leads to missions, and missions leads to joy. John Piper puts it another way – “Missions exist because worship doesn’t.”
God desires for all to worship him. Not because he wants his ego stroked but because he desires the whole earth to be filled with his glory and only then will we have that fullness of joy that Psalm 16 talks about.
In Psalm 27 David asks for one thing – to dwell in God’s house and gaze upon his beauty.
God’s glory is the manifestation of his eternal and transcendent beauty. This is what David wants to look at; this is the joy his heart desires.
When we declare God’s glory to the nations and to our neighbors we are calling them to joy. We shouldn’t want to keep that joy to ourselves.