The Purpose of Joy (Biblical Perspectives)

Psalms 30:11-12, ESV
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"

   Joy is the second attribute in the list that makes up the fruit of the Spirit. The suggestion being that true joy is a divine gift from God. The scripture above supports the idea that joy is recognizable to the person who experiences-especially because it often precedes mourning.

The bible is replete with references to joy and rightly attributes it to God. True joy from God results from irrepressible thanksgiving. The scripture above illustrates this nicely- here, the Psalmist states that it is God who has transformed their garment of mourning into that of gladness. As a result, God is glorified and this is demonstrated by the praises that to issue forth from their mouth.

Let’s unpick it- the Psalmist recognises that God did something supernatural during their period of distress. Here we have the metaphorical sackcloth the ancient symbol of debasement: repentance, mourning and fasting, that depicts the turmoil of a person’s inner life.

This coarse uncomfortable material, made of goat’s hair, was often combined with ashes which was put on the top of the mourner’s head, presents an image of brokenness and desolation. This garb had the effect of singling an individual out from the crowd as one experiencing emotional pain and discomfort- in the same way that leprosy would depict physical pain and discomfort and it could not be hidden.

Joy therefore is the natural response to the transformation brought about by divine intervention. Isaiah 61:3 provides a fuller description of God’s intervention in a life that has been emotionally broken: for he is able to “give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

The final component that is missing from this equation is the how. How does God bring about this transformation from mourning to joy? The answer is found in verse 2 “Lord my God I called to you for help and you healed me.” Divine joy then, is the supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit, given to the seeker who cries to God for it. The need for joy is identified only when it is absent- and sorrow is experienced. What an assurance- Our God responds to us when we cry out to him. Take note reader- the natural consequence of the supernatural gift of joy given to an ex-mourner is “that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” Why not practice it in advance, I’m sure God won’t mind!


Collection of Biblical Perspectives

The Lifesaving Good News

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Happiness; a much-sought after state of mind

is, according to the bible, what all Christians need to be striving for...more

Nothing of Himself

It’s interesting in the scriptures above that an important aspect of Christ’s mission was to reveal the character of God...more


When placed in context of the scriptural passage, we find Jesus describing his mission on earth as God's spiritual peace envoy...more

My Faith

Faith is intangible and invisible and yet it is an essential element in the Christian walk...more

Salvation: The Ark of God!

We need not question any further; God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work in partnership to execute the mystery of salvation...more

The Anatomy of Repentance

Paradoxically, when we are engaged in it, it is "sin" that feels like height and "repentance" that seems like depths...more

The Purpose of Joy

Joy therefore is the natural response to the transformation brought about by divine intervention...more

Be Still And Know God

Stillness is a state of mind- not moving or making a sound (adjective) deep silence and calm...more

Finding Our Purpose

If we are made in the image and likeness of God, he expects us to have his character as well...more

Suffering to Learn from

What is clear however is that God has designed suffering for us to learn from, praise Him for and gain righteousness in...more


God is the king who mercifully forgave the debt of ten thousand talents which was owed to him by one of his servants...more


In the parable prayer is characterised as an impossible activity: an exchange between the lowest of the low in society with the most inaccessible authority of the land...more


We need not succumb to fear when we have God on our side. If we exchange human fear with "fear of the Lord" we have wisdom...more

Have Faith in God!

It is interesting that prayer is the essential component in developing faith in God...more


He was a model intercessor whose primary motivation was God's glory (see Nehemiah 1:4-11)...more