Our view of God’s disposition determines our own.
“Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18).
This truth particularly applies to the matter of joy. Do we view our Lord as a joyful being? We must, if we are to faithfully understand and respond to the teaching of Scripture.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4).
“Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8-9).
While the Bible depicts God as experiencing the full gamut of feeling, His primary emotional sensibility teems with joy and gladness. The reason for such a blessed truth involves the fact that our Lord finds His primary fulfillment in Himself, that is, in the triune being of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The conditions and happenings of creation affect Him emotionally, particularly the human race originally created in His image. We do not, however, determine whether God exists in “exceeding joy,” or as anointed with “the oil of gladness.” These blessed sensibilities flow from and within the Godhead, wherein three perfect Persons exist in a oneness of loving devotion, affection and commitment. Thus, He (They) do not require us to provide joy in the most primary sense and sensibility.
Our view of a joyful Heaven elicits and inspires a joyful experience in our own hearts upon the earth. As with God, born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ feel the full gamut of emotion during our sojourn in a fallen world. A Biblical view of our Lord nevertheless installs joy as our growing and primary emotional sensibility. Whatever circumstances and conditions may involve, our joy ebbs or flows to the degree we know God in whatever life may bring to us. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” From prisons, crosses, pits, pyres, sickbeds, and painful challenges known by believers throughout the history of the church, the Lord’s song of joy has sounded and resounded. Yes, our view of God’s disposition determines our own. He is a wellspring of joy by and within Himself, causing those who know Him as He is to become His tributaries of gladness in all places, at all times, and in all things.
“Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice.”