I've been doing a word study on joy. That is, I looked up every time the word joy occurs in the Bible, and then I am studying that passage to see what is happening and try to learn from it.
It has been so good. I am by nature a glass is half full kind of person, so any help I can get with joy I'll take!
One of the most powerful lessons I learned came from 1 Chronicles 15:16. "Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy."
Here, David is bringing the ark of the covenant to the city of David. They tried this once before and failed.
David puts it this way in verse 13 of the same chapter "because you did not carry it at the first, The Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek him according to the ordinances."
They hadn't done it God's way, and so they were punished.
Now, they were doing it God's way. And a part of that doing it God's way was joy.
Notice, doing it the right way didn't produce the joy; joy was a key ingredient in doing it the right way.
Paradigm shift. I shouldn't think of joy as a result, but an element. In other words joy is an ingredient in the recipe of godly living.
I've had it backwards. I've been serving, serving waiting for the joy to come as a result instead of serving joyfully, all along.
Here is another verse that emphasizes the importance of serving God joyfully.
"Because thou servesdt not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which The Lord shall send against thee in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until he have destroyed thee." Deuteronomy 28:47-48