Remember when you got your tickle box turned upside down? People laugh at different things, but they all laugh at something. Joy and laughter are parts of the universal human personality. There are thousands of languages with hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone has the capacity to laugh.
When barren Sarah heard the news that she would bear a child in her old age, she laughed in disbelief. God Himself confronted her, yet she denied laughing. Her denial ended when God said, “No, but you did laugh” (Genesis 18:15). When that son was born, Abraham called his name, Isaac, which means laughter in Hebrew. The follow-up to this hilarious event goes like this: “Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:5-6). Her early nervous, fearful chuckle later became relaxed, joyful laughter as she reared that son in her old age.
Every psychologist and human behavior expert agrees that joy and laughter are good for you. But, God said it first—“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).
The answer to what makes you joyful is an interesting study. If you Google the question, “What causes joy?” you will get this response: “We feel joy because of the release of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters in the brain.” I am sure that is true but what we would like to know is what triggers those endorphins with their resultant emotions of joy, pleasure and satisfaction.
When Pastor Rick Warren answered the question of what causes joy, he said: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life. It is the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and is the determined choice to praise and thank God in every situation.”
The Apostle Paul, in Colossians chapter one, named four things that should make us joyful. Though written almost 2,000 years ago, these four things can still bring joy to your life.
1. We can be Joyful because Christ Has Qualified Us…”Joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (verse 12).
We should have joy because, through faith in Christ, God has qualified us to receive a share of His inheritance! Imagine the inheritance from the King of kings!
There are only two ways to qualify for an inheritance: by being part of a family, or by being in someone’s will. You may write a millionaire and ask to be in his or her inheritance, but you would probably never get a reply. However, if you were in the family; if you were an heir of the millionaire; or if you were in the last will and testament of a millionaire; you would be qualified for an inheritance.
None of us deserve an inheritance from God, but we can receive one by becoming part of His forever family. “You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). As a child of God through faith in Christ, He qualifies you for an inheritance.
2. We can be Joyful because Christ has Rescued Us…”For He rescued us from the domain of darkness” (verse 13a).
Before salvation by grace through faith in Christ, we were dead in our sins. We were lost, we were hopeless, in darkness, miserable, drowning in our sins and bound for hell, until He rescued us! We could not save ourselves. Nobody could pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. We needed to be rescued from Satan’s power and authority.
The saved are now safe because, “He rescued us from the domain of darkness.” The word “domain” means the power or authority of darkness. Darkness symbolizes Satan’s domain, his world, his power. Satan is “the prince and the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). After trusting Christ for salvation, Satan has no more authority over you. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin or be tempted; it does mean you don’t have to submit because Satan is not your boss!
3. We can be Joyful because Christ has Transferred Us…”And transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (verse 13b).
Want something that will bring joy? As soon as you receive Christ as your Savior, you are rescued from the domain of darkness and are immediately transferred to the kingdom of Christ! The wording of this verse means you have been permanently transferred, once for all time.
This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Truly, Truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes on Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into condemnation, but is passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). When you trust Christ as your Savior you immediately become part of His spiritual kingdom, which enables you one day to be in His actual physical kingdom in heaven and on earth. The new birth ushers you into His kingdom (John 3:3).
4. We can be Joyful because Christ has Forgiven Us…”In Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (verse 14).
In Christ, at the point of salvation, all our sins are forgiven! This great redemption takes place “in WHOM” (in Jesus!). We have forgiveness of all our sins, in Jesus! “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the reiches of His grace which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
This forgiveness of sins is what the gospel is all about. Jesus told Paul his ministry was: “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:16-18).
We should be joyful because Christ has Qualified Us…Rescued Us…Transferred Us…and Forgiven us through the sacrifice of His life for us. All you need to do is come to Him repenting of your sins, and trusting Him alone to save you. What joy can be ours in Jesus!