God wants us to be joyful. In fact, he commands us to be joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “be joyful always.” Philippians 4:4 says, “rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice.” Psalm 33:3 tells us to “sing to him (the Lord) a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy.” We are to be so full of joy that we shout about it to God!
But God also wants us to be joyful because he loves us. What parent doesn’t take delight in seeing his or her children full of joy? Of course our Father wants us to have joy. It also makes sense that he would want us to be joyful simply because we know him. We have something to be joyful about. When we are not joyful we are making a loud statement that while it might be nice to have an eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father, other things matter a lot more. Laurie and I were recently recalling the early days of our marriage when we had no money, lousy furniture, lived in a small apartment and struggled just to get by. I remember those days being joyful not because everything was going our way, but because we had each other! Perhaps our furniture looked like it came from the Goodwill Store, but I had Laurie, so life was good. I still feel the same way. And it makes a powerful statement to people in this world and those in the spiritual realm when we feel the same way about being loved by God. Maybe nothing’s going my way, but I’ve got a Heavenly Father who loves me, so I’ve got a lot to rejoice about. When we live full of God’s joy, it will make a difference.