In one of Christ's last prayers, one that He spoke to the Father in the presence of His disciples, He prayed that His joy might be fulfilled in us. Here was a man who one day later would give His beard to be pulled, willingly submit to a crown of thorns, be beaten to within an inch of His life, a beating so bad that He needed assistance to carry His cross. And He is speaking of joy?
While praying this prayer in John 17 He knew exactly what He was going to go through. He said at other times that this is the reason He came. Yet, He speaks of joy?
Nehemiah speaks of a joy that God commanded of a people who had run from the Law of God, broken everyone, probably, and yet God demands of them to, " Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto the LORD; neither be ye sorry, for THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.
As Believers we have also repented of our sins and quite often the enemy of our souls throws something at us to remind us of how much farther we have to go to live a life of true godliness. What he says is true, we will always need improvement as long as we live in a world where sin is increasing by the day. But, we must still attain to the joy of the LORD in our lives. Like Christ, who is our example, He suffered the shame of the cross for the joy that was set before Him. We also have a joy that is set before us! We have been given eternal life, a new glorified body, heaven is our home! Of all people we should pray for the joy of the LORD to fall upon us.
Notice how these scriptures are worded. It does not say that we have to work up a fake joy on our own; it says it is the joy OF THE LORD! It is His joy we must pray for. I need to get into His mindset to attain such a thing.
God has promised to appoint unto those who mourn to give us beauty for ashes, and a lot of our lives do turn to ashes. He has promised to give the oil of joy for mourning; and it is real, genuine mourning we do. He promises a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; and it gets very heavy at times. As we fight for this joy we will be called trees of righteousness; a planting of the LORD, not of we ourselves. It is His work! (Isaiah 61:3)
King David in all of his battles prayed, "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. (Psalm 51:12) And in Psalm 51:8 he asked of God that He make him to hear joy and gladness. This Psalm was composed after David had committed one of the most heinous crimes of his life. It is titled the Psalm of Repentance. Does this sound like a man who had convinced himself that he had sinned beyond repentance; that it was too late to again be full of the joy of the LORD? A million times NO!
The joy of the LORD IS OUR STRENGTH!
Ask for it; no matter the circumstance. He inhabits the praise of His people. Do we desire His presence? Start praising Him; He who has promised cannot help but appear on our behalf. He is faithful and true.