"When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight . . . . " 
NIV - Jeremiah 15:16
From the above passage we see that the Word of God is meant to be a source of "joy and delight" (Joy and rejoicing - KJV) to the heart of the believer. Even though this is most certainly true, we must be careful not to over-simplify this profound truth. One can not simply tell our non-church-going neighbor to read the Bible, assuming he will find "joy and delight" in doing so. Many Bibles contain more than 1,000 pages, a large portion of which makes most depressing reading.
Over the years I have counseled with many sincere seekers after truth who said, "I've tried to read the Bible, but I get nothing out of ." How, then, is it that the believer can find "joy and delight" in the message of the Holy Scriptures? There are two primary reasons: First, the child of God has Christ in his/her heart. Second, he has the Holy Spirit in his life to guide him, making the words of God sweet. Because of these he has learned to put God's word of judgment and God's word of grace in proper perspective. Further, it is in God's revelation, recorded in the pages of Holy Writ, that he has found not only pardon for his sins, but, also peace and love and joy as a permanent tenants of his soul.
How do we read the Bible? Do we find in it "joy and delight for our hearts"? We will, if we relate all that we read to the central message of God's Word to us -- the revelation of  His tender mercy unveiled before our believing eyes in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, in our behalf.
Joy in our heart should never be an end in itself. It should rather be the source of joy in our lives -- a joy that becomes visible in the kind of life we lead. "My heart for very joy doth leap; my lips no more can silence keep." To rejoice is the only command in the entire Bible that is repeated two times in a single verse, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" NIV - Phil. 4:4. The joy of the gospel, which we have found in "the Word," must spill over into a life of Christian love and action.
             "Lord, may I always show the joy of my heart in the joy of my life. And may
             my inner joy enable me to bear winsome witness to those who do not yet
             believe in You. Amen"
Just a thought from Parson Don across the Garden Gate.



Updated November 27, 2009
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