Pastor column: Being in the center of God’s will

Paul clearly tells us God’s will for each of us, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He tells us to “rejoice always” to “be joyful” — meaning that God's will for every believer is that we can live the joy sustained life and here’s why.

The joy of the Lord is a powerful joy! God never gives us a command that He by His power will not enable us to fulfill. Therefore, if He tells us to be joyful always, it is because, by His power, it is possible to be always joyful! It’s because God can allow us to have a joy that can never be taken away from us by the circumstances of life — “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

The joy of the Lord is a possible joy! This joy sustained life is possible for all of God’s children. Jesus taught how it is possible for all believers to be joyful always. First, a joy sustained life comes through the never changing love relationship with the Lord that makes it possible — “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love” (John 15:9).

Many confuse joy with happiness. Happiness is not a biblical word at all. It is derived from the root “to happen.” In other words, happiness is something that is dependent on what happens to us. Unlike happiness, joy is not mine because of the perfection of the circumstances around me but because of the presence of Christ within me. Joy depends on Jesus. Since circumstances constantly change but Jesus never changes, I can be joyful always!

Second, if we are to “rejoice always” we must “remain in His love.” How do we do this? Jesus tells us, “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love” (John 15:10). What leads to the joy sustained life is simply obedient living.

Third, the Lord said, “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). The reason that God has made it possible for us to be joyful always is that it brings joy to Him for His children to have their joy be complete. God’s joy is found in His people who find their joy in a growing awareness of His love for them as a result of their being constantly blessed through obedient living.

God’s will is for you to have a joy sustained life — always. If you are a believer who is lacking in joy, it’s simply because you’ve allowed something to come between you and Jesus. If that’s the case, why not ask God to show you what it is and remove it? When He does, all that will be left is joy!

Rev. J. Patrick Street is the lead pastor of Redeemer Church in Marion. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: The joy of the Lord is a powerful joy