In Your Bible Read This Out: Luke 9:23
Memorise This Verse: John 17:13 ‘That they may have the full measure of my joy within them’.
Afterwards Talk About This: The things that can prevent us from knowing the joy that Jesus knew
Something To Do Before Next Time: Read about the joy of Jesus in Psalm 45
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the link between releasing money and releasing joy
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: Philippians 2:21
In John 17:13 Jesus reveals that those who follow him should know a quality of joy that non-Christians will never experience – namely the very divine joy that Jesus himself experienced, his followers should experience. Whilst the non-Christian may experience brief, fleeting happiness, the Christian should experience a deep, abiding, divine level of joy. Sadly, many Christians never experience this joy being released in their lives and whilst this may be due to many factors, certainly withholding money from God and choosing not to give can prevent the joy of Jesus being released into our lives.
This section will argue that to a large extent, the amount of money that we release to God will determine the amount of divine joy that is released within us. The below scripture is the words of Jesus that will be a foundational text for this section; here , Jesus reveals how we can start to release his life and joy into our lives. It is unique in the bible in that various parts of it are mentioned in all 4 gospels so Holy Spirit has placed a special emphasis on it.
Luke 9:23 ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take his up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will loose it but whoever loses his life for me will save it’.
Jesus speaks of one of the biggest addictions that enslaves mankind and that is selfishness – people who are totally obsessed with themselves and their lives with no thought for others. Jesus would appear to argue that the more selfish we are, the less happy we will be. Conversely, the more selfless and giving we are, the more joy we will experience as we will start to discover the generous, loving nature of Jesus being released within us. Is it not true that it is the selfish people who are more easily offended, short tempered, anxious, obsessive and overall more unhappy?
It is a Kingdom principle then that those who are totally consumed with their own self interests and are obsessed with their own pleasure will never find or experience what they so desperately seek. Sadly, this selfish lifestyle is exhibited in the lives of so many people who are too busy for anyone or anything else except themselves and their own pleasure. However, this is nothing new ; in the below scripture from Philippians 2:21, Paul highlights this addiction to selfishness and in 2 Timothy 3:1-2, Paul warns that one of signs of the end of the age is that people will be lovers of themselves.
Phillipians 2:21 ‘For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ’
2 Timothy 3:1 ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money’.
(It is interesting to note that in 2 Timothy 3:1-3; Paul clearly outlines that during the end times, there will be terrible things going on in the earth. Notice that the very first terrible thing that he lists is that people will be lovers of themselves and the second thing he lists is that people will be lovers of money. It would appear that if someone is selfish it will be evident in their financial dealings as they will be lovers of money).
As we apply this spiritual principle to personal finances we can see how people will seek to keep every penny that they earn in order to get as much happiness as possible. Undoubtedly, the grip of selfishness that is set over people and their money is massive – for example, how many people would be deeply upset if they lost a £10 note! A further example is how people will argue, get angry, shout, dispute and fight over a small amount of money; is it not amazing how a very small amount of money can create a very large reaction.
Selfishness will be exhibited in our personal finances when we spend all our money on ourselves – this grip of selfishness can only be broken when we choose to be givers; remember how Jesus said that when we follow him we must deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). The person who loves money and spends every penny on themselves will never know the level of joy and satisfaction that someone who consistently is a giver will know. As we give our money to release joy into other people’s lives, it would appear that God will release joy into our lives and consequently our level of joy is to an extent dependant on our level of giving.
This linking together of giving and joy can be seen in the 3 scriptural examples below, firstly:
1 Chronicles 29:9 ‘The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord’.
1 Chronicles 29:20 ‘So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the Lord and the King’.
1 Chronicles 29:22 ‘They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day’
The background here is the giving of the children of Israel to David’s temple. As the people gave such a large offering it released great joy amongst God’s people. It must have been an awesome sight to see such a large, extravagant, joyful, obedient corporate offering; the joy of giving was truly amongst them. Secondly:
Psalm 126:4-6 ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy’.
The Psalms are known for their honesty and here the Psalmist accurately describes how some of us are in our giving. It may be very hard for some of us to sow financially – even to the point of doing so with tears in our eyes. However, giving leads to receiving and when you reap your harvest it leads to joy. Thirdly:
2 Corinthians 8:2 ‘Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity’
Giving can be tough during the good times – how much more during the hard times. The Macedonian Christians dared to give in their extreme poverty and broke through and tapped into overflowing joy.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Malawi
10,925,238 people, 80% Christian.
AIDS ravaging the country Islam growing and could pose a threat
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.