Joy is the flag...

There’s a little children’s worship song that goes like this:

Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart

From the castle of my heart

From the castle of my heart

Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart

When the King is in residence there…

It’s a simple little ditty, but oh so profound! 

A few weeks ago one hundred beautiful female souls gathered to explore true biblical joy. Together we dove deep into what joy really is, where it comes from, how to get joy, and how to keep it. We talked about the tough stuff; joy in the painful valleys of life, joy in the barren season of waiting, joy in the midst of trouble, joy in the pile of rubble. We praised God because He is the One and only source of true joy. We sought God because He wants us to draw near so He can shower us with His abundant joy. We laughed and we cried because He created us that way—to experience joy in His presence and joy in our sisterhood.

Our God is vast and unsearchable, sovereign and omnipotent—but also intimate and personal, tender and loving. This beautiful dichotomy shone through as He ministered to each heart personally and purposefully. Individual takeaways from Passport to Joy, sealed by the Spirit were many and varied. But one truth shone through each and every unique touch of His Spirit:  True joy comes from God alone through the power of His Holy Spirit who eternally dwells in each believer.

Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart

When the King is in residence there…

This simple little song has it right on so many levels.

True joy really is like a flag flown high, visible through all kinds of weather, despite difficult, slippery terrain—a dancing display of life and resilience, reverberating hope to a world under siege of darkness. But the flag only flies when the King is in residence, when the Holy Spirit rules the heart. The apostle Paul reminded the Romans of what King David understood so well: joy is a direct result of being right with God, living a life of freedom because our sins are forgiven.

When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:

“Oh, what joy for those

 whose disobedience is forgiven,

 whose sins are put out of sight.

Yes, what joy for those

 whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” Romans 4:4-8 NLT

Joy flows from the heart forgiven and made new by the grace of God.

Joy flows from the life inhabited and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Galatians 5:22 NLT (emphasis mine)

We can try to hoist that flag of joy up the pole on our own in so many different ways. We can seek true uninterrupted joy from people, possessions, power, or purpose. We can attempt to find real and lasting joy in our accomplishments, leisure time, or good works. But if we are honest we will admit that the joy drawn from earthly wells is not the lasting, overflowing, unshakable joy that only flows from one spring: The King. Only when the King rules our heart does the flag of joy fly high enough to shout His praises to a joy hungry world with its mouth wide open.

So let it fly in the sky

Let the whole world know, let the whole world know

So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know

That the King is in residence there

So, like King David, let’s praise God with confident delight as our flag of joy unfurls the wonder of our God to a waiting, watching world.

You make known to me the path of life;

 in your presence there is fullness of joy;

 at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV