On August 13, 2014, many of us woke up to the news that the King of Comedy, Robin Williams, who made so many laugh, had apparently committed suicide due to severe depression. For years his happy face had masked a sad heart.
Many today are sad and depressed. The coronavirus pandemic has added to this problem. Social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely. Fear and worry about your own heath and the health of your loved ones can increase stress. Your financial situation or loss of support services that you rely on can create added anxiety.
Many sad and depressed people are in our world. How can we find joy?
While one blog won’t wave a magic wand over your problems and make you happy, we discover an event in Jesus’ life that brought Him joy and His followers. Jesus sent out 70 followers to prepare for His journey to Judea. They returned with great joy. In fact, they caused Jesus to have joy. We discover three ways to create joy.
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (Luke 10:17)
The 70 disciples returned from their evangelism trip with joy because the demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name. When Jesus sent them out, he simply told them to heal the sick. He made no reference to any power over demons. But it is just like Jesus to give more back than we put in. He explained that Satan is a defeated enemy. But the point I want to make is the joy a believer receives for serving Jesus.
When I was a youth director we had a lot of fun, crazy activities. The kids loved it. One year during Christmas we had our annual Christmas Crazy Games. About ½ way through the night I told everyone we were all getting in the church van for a ride. They had not idea we were going to a nursing home to Christmas Carol. When they realized what was happening, I could hear the moans. But by the time we were finished, they were having a good time and most didn’t want to leave. One guy told me, If you would have told me we were going to do this I would never have come to the activity. But I had a great time and would do it again.
Telling people about Jesus is one of the most exhilarating experiences you will ever have. But you won’t feel the rush of joy until you overcome the fear of inaction. Just do it. If you want joy, share the message of Jesus with others.
“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)
Greater than the joy of service is the joy knowing that your name is written in Heaven. The joy the disciples experienced was temporary. But your name in Heaven is permanent. Jesus adjusted the source of the disciples’ joy from their victorious service to their eternal salvation. No matter what you accomplish in life, there is greater joy knowing that your eternal home is Heaven. It will always remain true that a man’s greatest glory is not what he has done but what God has done for him.
Once someone asked Sir James Simpson, who pioneered its use, “What do you regard as your greatest discover?” Expecting the answer, “Chloroform.” But Simpson answered, “My greatest discovery was the Jesus Christ is my Savior.”
Can anyone really know their name is written in Heaven? The Apostle John tells us, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13) Eternal life is something you can know you have. Do you know?
If you don’t know, it is very simple. Believe and Receive. The Apostle John explains how anyone can have eternal life: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 1:12; 3:16) Have you believed and received?
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Luke 10:21)
This is the only record in the life of Jesus where He rejoiced over something. What caused Jesus to rejoice was in relation to people becoming followers of Him. He not only rejoiced, He thanked God for it. God had revealed the truth to some simple people who heard the message from the disciples and Jesus was overjoyed. If you want to make Jesus happy, tell people about Him.
One of the favorite memories of my childhood and the thing I miss most is watching my dad laugh. I can still remember one time watching a TV show and my dad laughed so uncontrollably that he fell off the couch onto the floor. The best was when I could do something that made my dad laugh at the dinner table. My mom didn’t like it much. But my dad would laugh at us. I think it’s the same for Christian’s – we want to bring joy to our Father’s face.
Rather than visualizing sharing the Gospel as a duty, think of it as making Jesus smile.
So many sad faces today. Christians need to bring joy into our world. Remember, there is joy in serving, joy in your salvation, and joy with the Savior.
The Gospel is called the “Good news.” I encourage you this week to tell the good news. Start a conversation that will lead to you talking about all the good things Jesus has done for you.
We live in a world where evil seems to be winning. Violence, lying, deception are all around us. It reminds me of Noah’s time – “the wickedness of man was great in the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only continually.” (Genesis 6:5) But Genesis also tells us that “Noah was a pleasure to the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). He made God smile. Everyone was doing wickedness. But one man brought joy to the God. Let’s make Jesus smile this week as we go and tell what Jesus has done.