And that’s where the great joy comes in. Your gifts then are precious as they are given to another. That’s how we give to Jesus now — through giving to each other — and not necessarily gifts of tangible value. There’s nothing wrong with that premise. Jesus said that: “Love the Lord thy God with all your heart; and your neighbor as yourself.”
And when the gift comes from a heart full of joy that Christ brings, the gift keeps on giving ... and giving ... and giving ...
The joy that we receive when we receive Christ is the joy that gives us strength and it is the joy that is passed on to others. There is joy in giving.
In 1 Chronicles 29 we read how David explained the needs of the temple to the people, first giving from his own abundance. Then, we read, “the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly (Verse 6).
“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy” (1 Chronicles 29:9).
The people were of one heart (perfect); their offering was given willingly. And because of this, they joined in the rejoicing with great joy. No grouches, no second thoughts, no recriminations, no coercing — just giving willingly.
One writer tells us that the “joy of the Lord” is our strength.
This was Nehemiah as the people were laboring to rebuild the walls. There’s a reason not to be sorrowful, he tells them, for “this day is holy unto our Lord ... the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
James in the New Testament said, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Let’s look at what he is saying. He’s not just telling the fellow who finds himself surrounded with adversity how to be victorious over the situation, but he is also showing him how he will be better for the experience. You have a choice!
Will adversity make you a better and stronger person? Will it give you invaluable experience? Will you choose to “count it joy’’ and trust God enough that you will be patient while your faith is tried, and that the result will be victory?
Or will you have the attitude, “It’s no use — I give up,” and reap nothing but bitterness and defeat?
James says you have a choice. You can let the joy of Jesus Christ lift you above life’s trials and strengthen you, or you can just let yourself wallow around in self-pity and weakness. It’s up to you.
Paul said essentially the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV): “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” God is trying to do something special for you, Paul explains. He says to trust Him — and in the middle of your problem, there’s no reason to let it separate you from Him. Just look up and praise the Lord anyway.
To the shepherds and to us, the angel speaks: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).