The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary describes JOY as “the passion or emotion excited by the expectation of good (this latter phrase is an excellent description of Biblical HOPE!).”
Why is frequent Meditation on BIBLICAL HOPE so important? Because
the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (joy produced by the Spirit as we meditate on Biblical HOPE). (Romans 14:17-note)
Biblical HOPE is vital because when we LOSE HOPE (we call this “despair”) in the future, we LOSE JOY (we call this “grief” or “sorrow”) in the PRESENT because we have no firm foundation for confidence in the FUTURE. In short, the soothing balm of Biblical “HOPE (allows us to) see heaven through the thickest clouds.” (Puritan Thomas Brooks)
Spurgeon has a pertinent question about hope:
The JOY OF HOPE—who shall measure it? Those who are strangers to it are certainly strangers to the SWEETEST MATTER in spiritual life. With the exception of present communion with Christ, the JOY of a believer in this present state must be mainly the JOY OF HOPE. “It does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is (OUR HOPE).” (1John 3:2-note) We thank God that we shall be satisfied when we wake up (from the sleep of death) in the likeness of Jesus! This ANTICIPATION (HOPE) of Heaven makes (the hurt of) earth become endurable! And the sorrows of time lose their weight when we think of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory (Our future HOPE). (2Corinthians 4:17-note)
And so Spurgeon encourages us to continually focus our “TELESCOPE OF HOPE to the starry promises of heaven” because HOPE of our future time in heaven serves to stir up a lively JOY during our present sojourn on earth!
IS YOUR JOY
AT LOW EBB?
Then drink deeply from the springs of BIBLICAL HOPE and the Holy Spirit will empower you to “REJOICE (present imperative) in the Lord (Our “Best HOPE” and JOY of our Desire) always and again I say REJOICE” (present imperative) (Philippians 4:4-note) because “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY (OUR HOPE) that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18-note).
Dearly beloved of God,
“Do not be grieved (joyless),
for the JOY OF JEHOVAH is your strength”
JOY grows well when watered by
the good HOPE found in God’s Word of Truth.
In Romans Paul links JOY with HOPE writing
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and we REJOICE IN HOPE of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2-note)
“Peace with God” takes care of the PAST: God will no longer hold our sins against us. “Access to God” takes care of the PRESENT: we can come to our Father at any time for the supernatural enablement we continually need. “REJOICING IN THE HOPE of the glory of God” takes care of the FUTURE: the promise that one day we shall share in His glory! Notice again that it is the certainty of our bright FUTURE HOPE that is the grounds for our PRESENT REJOICING, and this hope fueled joy enables us to live as lights "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Php 2:15-note), as God's ambassadors of reconciliation (2Cor 5:18-20-note), "filled with JOY and with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:52) Who enables us to radiate His JOY which is not natural (like happiness which depends on what happens) but is supernatural, independent of circumstances, be they benevolent or bad!
This great truth begs the question dear child of the Most High God, "Are you rejoicing in hope today?" If not take a moment to meditate on Romans 5:1-2 (memorize it!), asking God’s Spirit to renew your thinking and enable you to set your mind on the things above and not on the things that are on the earth (Col 3:2-note).
Spurgeon would agree for he observes that Ro 5:1-2-note
is a golden staircase (Ed: A “Staircase” which transports the eyes of our heart “heavenward”, focusing them on our Great God and His glorious plan of redemption!)—justification brings peace and peace brings access into this Grace wherein we are established! And then comes the JOY OF HOPE—and that HOPE fixes its eyes on nothing less than the GLORY OF GOD. GRACE is the stepping-stone to GLORY—and they who are JUSTIFIED BY FAITH shall in due time be GLORIFIED BY LOVE!” Hallelujah!
In Romans 12:12-note Paul writes that we are to be “REJOICING in HOPE, persevering in tribulation” or as Piper paraphrases it we are to “Let our joy be the JOY that comes from HOPE.” In other words “hope is the soil in which joy is rooted—the ground where joy grows.” Like a fish needs the environment of water to thrive, JOY needs HOPE to be alive in our heart. When a believer's HOPE is fresh and full and focused on CHRIST JESUS our HOPE (1Ti 1:1-note) and the glorious FUTURE He promises us, this great HOPE functions like “spiritual rain” falling on our heart, bringing forth the fragrant fruit of JOY, birthed by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-note).
“for the Christian things may go really bad right now and yet not rob him of his JOY. The JOY is the JOY OF HOPE. Christians set their hearts on how good it will be in the age to come and in the presence of Christ after death. This is why Christians can REJOICE in tribulation and not just in health and peace and security. Tribulation drives the roots of JOY down into HOPE. The future JOY streams back into the presence and lightens every load.”
As someone has said, when we are filled "With the JOY OF HOPE we can sing as we suffer!"
Matthew Henry wrote that our
"JOY and peace as believers arises chiefly from our HOPES. What is laid out UPON us is but little, compared with what is laid UP FOR us (in glory); therefore the more HOPE we have the more JOY and peace we have. We do then abound in HOPE when we HOPE for great things from God and are greatly established and confirmed in these HOPES. Christians should desire and labor after an abundance of HOPE, such HOPE as will not be ashamed!"
“To be with Christ in Glory is the JOY OF HOPE, the HOPE which makes not ashamed. Our HOPE is no dream—as sure as we are here today, we who are trusting in Christ will be in Heaven before long—for He prays that we may be with Him where He is and may behold His Glory! (John 17:24) Let us not wish to postpone the happy day! Shall our bridal day be kept back? No, let the Bridegroom speedily come and take us to Himself. WHAT A JOY to know that this head shall wear a crown of glory and these hands shall wave the palm branch of victory! I speak not of myself alone, my brothers and sisters, but of you also and of all who love His appearing (2Ti 4:8-note). There is a crown of life (James 1:12-note, Rev 2:10-note) laid up for you which the righteous Judge will give you. Therefore, have patience a little while. Bear, still, your cross. Put up with the difficulties of the way, for the end is almost within sight!”
And so under-girded by God's grace, enabled by His Spirit and for the glory of the Lamb we declare with C H Spurgeon "Away dark thoughts! UP, faith and HOPE!" Not gloom but gladness, not dreariness but delight, for Jesus Himself declares "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Rev 22:20-note)
Annie Johnson Flint writes...
I look up -- into the face of Jesus
For there my heart can rest, my fears are stilled;
And there is JOY, and love, and light for darkness,
And perfect peace, and every HOPE fulfilled.
In the song Forever Reign we sing these words...
You are HOPE, You are HOPE
You have covered all my sin.
You are JOY, You are JOY.
You're the reason that I sing.
SEE IN DEPTH STUDY OF GOD'S WORD OF HOPE...