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366 devotional readings that will unlock the secret power to Abiding In Christ

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Reimar A.C. Schultze

Past Issues of the Call To Obedience

"The Divine Symphony of Joy"

By Pastor Reimar Schultze

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you” (John 16:22).

Since the coming of the Holy Spirit, there is a divine symphony that is a gift of God to every crucified saint.  When Jesus talked about a joy that no man can take from us, he referred to the Spirit-filled life which could not be had until Pentecost.  In all prior years, beginning with fallen Adam, there was a joy in many a soul that could be taken away by man or circumstances.

Friend, have you experienced the joy of Jesus that no man can take away?  Can men, friends, enemies, or brothers or sisters in the Lord take away your joy?  If so, you do not have the best joy heaven has to offer. 

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

If you get demoted on your job, do you lose your joy?  If you lose a loved one, do you lose your joy?  If it rains every day on your vacation, does your joy go out the window?  If your spouse loses the only key you have to your rental car, and you are going to miss your flight back home, are you going to lose your joy?  If your spouse threatens you with divorce, are you going to lose your joy?  If the preacher steps on your toes Sunday after Sunday, are you going to lose your joy?  If you saved up for many years for that special automobile you always wanted, and it turns out to be nothing but trouble, do you lose your joy? 

Are you still with me?  I am writing about a joy that no man can take away from you.  Do you have that joy?  Do you want it?  How much does it take for you to lose your joy?  How many set-backs, how many disappointments, how many punches and hits can you handle before your joy runs out the back door of your life?  Can your joy be taken away by a single telephone call, or by just one letter, or by just one comment, or by the washing machine breaking down, or by the shingles flying off your roof, or by an unexpected bill?  If so, what is the difference between your joy and that of the unbeliever? 

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

Jesus has a joy for us that is indifferent to what man will say and do to us and that cannot be quenched by the worst of circumstances.  Jesus has a joy for us that is totally heaven-connected and totally earth-disengaged.  One of the tragedies of the average Christian is that his joy is entirely people and circumstance related.  Perhaps that is why the world uses the word “happiness” instead of “joy.”  Happiness depends on “happenstance”—it depends on what happens.  You have the average man come home from work or enter the sanctuary of the church, and you can tell with one look at his face what happenstance he experienced that day.  If his countenance is fallen, he has had bad things happen to him.  If his countenance is bright, he had good things happen to him.  If things went his way, he is in a happy mood.  If things went contrary, he is in a cross mood.  Don’t most church people’s moods and mood swings depend a lot on what has been happening?  If you would give a $1,000 check to every grumpy, discouraged, church member in a worship service, and they would all light up, you could tell that their happiness depends on happenings and not on a deep, abiding relationship with the King of kings.

But, once in a great while, you find saints who are always in joy—I mean, always!  In every church service, they shine like lights, as if nothing negative ever befalls them.  Their joy cannot be put out by anything.  The same symphony that plays in heaven is extended into the hearts of these rare jewels of God.  You can never tell by their countenance that they are in great suffering, that they had a significant financial loss, that they were abused by men, that they don’t know how to get the next loaf of bread, or that they have been misunderstood and rejected.  Oh, may the ranks of these people grow in the church of our mighty God.

The joy of the Holy Spirit, the joy no man nor circumstance can take away, is what Jesus wants you to have.  This is the joy that comes out of our relationship with him: the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star.  It is for this reason that Jesus said to his disciples when they returned from their first mission of healing and of casting out devils, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

Jesus’ message here is: “Be more happy about your salvation, about your relationship with me—be more happy in the fact that you shall be with me forever, that I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be more happy about all this than anything else, because anything else may be of a transient nature.  It is here today and gone tomorrow.  I don’t want you to be up one day and down the other.  Let me be the constant, uplifting factor of every minute of your life.  And if that is the case, you will lift and inspires hundreds and thousands and prove to them the power of this great salvation.  Your life will proclaim a joy, not related to happenstance, but based on a relationship with me, by the fact that you have an inner fountain that will never run dry!”  Do you have that joy?

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

If a preacher depends on what he accomplishes rather than on his abiding relationship with Jesus, his joy will go up and down all the time.  And in the down times, he has to put up a false front and act like he is up, when in reality he is miserable, disappointed, and depressed. 

Did Jesus’ joy depend upon his success?  Did it depend upon the attendance in his meetings?  Did it depend upon whether he could do miracles or not?  Did it depend upon how many devils he cast out?  The kingdom of God is joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17).  Do you have the Holy Ghost or does the Holy Ghost leave you when you lose your credit card?  The symphony of heaven was always playing in the depths of the soul of Jesus, even when his heart was grieved at the hardness and unbelief of man.  Do you have the joy of the Lord that “no man taketh from you”?

Now, let me ask you two more vital questions: 1) What is the nature of this joy?, and 2) Can this joy coexist with other emotions?

What is the nature of this joy?

This joy of the Lord is not a joy worked up.  It is not a joy of reckless enthusiasm, but rather it is a joy of constant, calm repose.  Our English word “joy,” as employed here in John 16:22 and also in Romans 14:17, corresponds to the Greek word chara which means: cheerfulness and calm delight.  This cheerfulness and calm delight is a gift of God to every obedient heart.  It is of the Holy Spirit, and if you have it, it is evidence of an obedient, abundant life in Christ.  The book of Acts tells us that the early Christians and their leaders had this joy and maintained it even when they lost their earthly goods and family members in the face of fierce persecution.  Again, this joy has nothing to do with circumstances.  It is entirely the outflow of a relationship with Jesus.

Can this joy coexist with other emotions?

Of course it can!  We can be joyful and sorrowful at the same time.  Just as you can carry water and gasoline in the same can, you can carry the joy of the Lord and sorrow in the same heart.  But as water will always be below gasoline—because it is heavier—so the joy of the Lord will always be at the bottom of your heart.  Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3), yet deeper than his grief, he had the joy of the Lord.  Hence, he prayed to the Father just hours before his crucifixion:

“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13).

Do you see him speak of his joy here when hatred and resentment toward him had peaked?  Consider also this moving passage from 2 Corinthians 6:7-10.  Notice the many negatives in this passage and then, in the midst of these, the little phrase, “yet alway rejoicing.”  Paul says he has labored “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

Jesus said that there is a joy that no man can take from you.  The world and the church are waiting for people who have this joy of the Lord.  They are waiting for you to hear this beautiful symphony from heaven.  They are waiting for you to show it to them.  Do you have this joy?  Are you going to get it?  When are you going to get it? 

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

Yes, there is a joy no man can take away from you.  Jesus died to get it for you, and you have to die to Self to get it and to keep it.