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Volume 22 - Page 102 of 214 Index | Zoom | |
"Helpers of your joy"
The place that joy occupies.
pp. 61, 62
It is surprising, in one sense, to note the emphasis which the apostle puts upon "joy".
When we come to think of the life he lived, the nature of the revelation made known to
and through him--the stewardship of the mystery--his bonds and imprisonment, the
loneliness and the abuse that seemed his daily meat, we should not be surprised, speaking
after the manner of men, if "joy" never entered his vocabulary.
But, thank God, we do not speak after the manner of men, having seen enough of the
grace of God to be prepared for songs in the night and psalms from the innermost prison.
Again and again in the epistle to the Philippians Paul bids his readers "rejoice", even
though some brethren (not merely pagan enemies) were endeavouring to add affliction to
The ministry for which The Berean Expositor was first called into existence, and
which justifies its continuance, is one so fraught with problems, and which makes such
demands upon both reader and writer, that it is absolutely necessary that into all the hard
study, and in some cases isolation that the truth entails, should be brought the
remembrance that faith is not cold but warm and living, and that there is a "joy of faith"
(Phil. 1: 25), as well as the subject-matter of the faith, the fight of faith and stedfastness in
the faith. Faith not only leads to justification, acceptance and life, blessings indeed
beyond computation, but to "joy and peace in believing" (Rom. 15: 13) with which we
should be as much filled, as "with the spirit".
Some of the fruits of the Spirit are enumerated in Gal. 5: 22, 23 which sets forth a
veritable cluster of Eschol, nine in all, including gentleness, temperance and faith. The
first in order of mention is "love", without which all knowledge, faith and even
martyrdom are reduced to nothing; and second in order of mention is "joy". Can we
conceive of gentleness without joy and still associate it with the Spirit? Temperance
without joy may be a mischief-worker and a cause of stumbling. A joyless faith
producing a joyless creed neither commends the gospel nor glorifies the Lord. Joy differs
from happiness. In the everyday sense of the word much so-called "happiness" largely
depends upon what "happens", whereas joy is deeper, being independent of
circumstances. The apostle may at one time be exalted and at another depressed; he may
be full or hungry, be in comparative comfort or in lonely neglect. He may be even in
fetters and prison--but his joy remains unchanged.
Strictly speaking, there should be no need in a magazine of this type specifically to
deal with such a subject. We should all be so keen to learn all that is possible concerning
the Lord and His Word, that the pursuit of some intricate piece of grammar should be a
joyful undertaking, the labour of discovering or of verifying and using a structure should
be as joyful a piece of work as the singing of a lovely melody. Indeed, a peep behind the