Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Phil 4:4
See that you first settle the peace of your souls upon solid grounds, and get such evidences of your special interest in Christ and heaven, as will rationally warrant you to rejoice; and then make it the business of your lives to rejoice and delight yourselves in God, and take this as the principal part of grace and godliness, and not as a small or indifferent thing; and so let all lawful, natural mirth be taken in, as animated and sanctified by this holy delight and joy; and know that this natural, sanctified mirth is not only lawful, but a duty exceeding congruous and comely for a thankful believer in his way to everlasting joy. – Richard Baxter
There is a right kind of joy and a wrong kind of joy. Mirth is not joy. Mirth according to the 1828 Webster’s dictionary is ” Social merriment; hilarity; high excitement of pleasurable feelings in company.” Mirth may not have anything to do with God unless it is produced by the Spirit. Joy comes from within and is produced as a fruit of the Holy Ghost. If you are not saved, the Holy Ghost is not in you and cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life. If your mirth is in the world, it is work of the flesh. Sin may produce mirth or worldly pleasure for a season but it cannot produce joy. Sin takes away real joy because it grieves the Holy Ghost in the born again child of God.
There is a natural mirth and a supernatural joy as Baxter describes here. The natural mirth is sometimes more personality than anything. Some people are just naturally outgoing and in a good mood. However if you are the typical grouch or wet blanket it would be good to try and over come this natural tendency. It will take the Spirit of God. You have to put the flesh down and just rejoice on credit, even when you don’t feel like it. Like Baxter says, it is our duty as a Christian to have a thankful spirit and be joyful.
There is a supernatural joy that God puts in our heart when we are born again. Your soul is placed on the solid ground of knowing you are going to heaven. You have the peace of God which passes all understanding that can comfort your heart and your mind through all kinds of storms knowing Christ is in you. You should have joy all day long knowing you have Christ as your Saviour. Christ came into the world to die on the cross. He rose from the grave. He arose victorious. That should be enough to give anyone joy.
So, do you have right joy produced by the Holy Ghost or is your mirth just natural based on things of this world?