Joy Indescribable

December 13, 2020

Joy Indescribable – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Dr. Larry S. Lightner

Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift. –2 Corinthians 9:15

Inexpressible and indescribable are cousins. There are just some things we experience in life that are inexpressible and indescribable. You would think that Paul living in his rough way of life would not stoop to lay out his emotions on parchment. But he does.

What Paul experiences in Christ is joy. He goes on in his writing to picture not only his experience in Christ, but the joy that results from his relationship with Christ. At times, Paul is much like we are—struggling to come up with the right words (but then he has the Holy Spirit to move him along in his writing. I have experienced the effectual leading of the Holy Spirit while in the pulpit and being caught up in a struggle of speaking the right words. You do not have to be in a pulpit to struggle.

When Paul experiences joy, it is not the same as happiness. Happiness elicits from an event or situation in life; it comes, and then it is gone. Joy, however, is found in a state of being. We are full of joy because of being in a right relationship. We experience the same kind of joy that Paul has, because of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

I spend a lot of time thinking. Sometimes Donna has to call me back into the present. Paul, as he wrote 2 Corinthians, drifted back to his supporters. The Corinthians gave gifts to the poor in Jerusalem. Sometimes when we are thinking, God uses our thoughts to turn them to teaching us valuable thoughts. His mind turned to God and the gift of Christ to His people. A great gift – Jesus was not simply a gift; He was the greatest of all gifts. And the joy that accompanied that gift blew him away. He struggled to describe it—it was both indescribable and inexpressible. Thanks be to god for His indescribable gift!

Paul is not using superlatives to toy with words or to use exaggeration. What kind of words do you use to describe the gift and what He brings?

This Advent season, many reading these devotionals will gather in places to listen to George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. There is a wonderful chorus, the Hallelujah Chorus, you cannot come away from it without joy in your heart, and perhaps singing it for days upon days. It is indescribable in its content.

The writer of the book of Revelation records: To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! . . . Amen! (Revelation 5:13-14). John also struggles to put down words that come up to the joy that is present in the presence of Christ.

This season of Advent 2020, it would be well to stop and give thought to whom it is that brings true joy to our lives—then to spend some time attempting to describe Him. Indescribable. Inexpressible.

Life Application

Even though the gift of God in Christ is indescribable and inexpressible, it is nevertheless often spoken of in the Word of God. Therefore, there is an expectation of our speaking of the joy of His gift. Who should we speak to about the gift. First of all, to God. Thanks be to God! How often do you thank and speak to God regarding His gift of salvation? Thanks be to God for Jesus! We need to speak to God regarding His gift; however, we need to speak to others about the gift we have received. A gift that brings great joy!


  1. Pray that God would keep us focused on His great joy gifted to us in Christ.
  2. Pray that God would expose His joy through our lives to have an impact upon others in our neighborhood, community, and wider world, that others might experience the joy of Christ.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

December 13, 2020

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