It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There just seems to be a greater joy in the atmosphere and adults and children alike are more excited and joyful than usual. Christmas music and shopping are in full swing every where we go, and lovely decorations adorn shops and our homes. The feeling of peace, joy, and love are literally all around us! Which brings me to the topic of joy. What exactly is joy? Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope. It is something or someone who provides a source of happiness. The word joy appears 88 times in the Old Testament and 57 times in the New Testament in the Bible. This tells me that we should be walking around with the joy and peace that God has to offer us through His word. We should always find reasons to be joyful. We shouldn’t be walking around grumbling, complaining, and feeling defeated all of the time as if God has done nothing good for us. Take a look around and think of those good things such as friendships, relationships, and family members that bring you joy. Joy is a gift and should be a natural part of your lifestyle. Everyday of your life should be lived displaying joy, peace, love, gratefulness, and generosity towards others.
There are many ways to define joy. Joy isn’t just a smile or a laugh. Joy is something that is deep within and doesn’t leave quickly. When we have the joy of the Lord, we’ll know it and so will others. Since joy is given by God and it is something that He wants us to have, we need to be joyful in every situation. In addition to being joyful, we should let others rejoice and not bring them down when they are excited about good things going on. The only thing worse than not having joy is stealing someone else’s. Which brings me to the next question. How do we obtain joy? God’s Holy Spirit produces joy. Joy is a product of Christ-likeness and is an eternal gift. When we seek God through His Word and prayer, we will receive joy. Joy is something He wants us to have! “Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalm 119:11). Joy is something that comes from within. Joy cannot be bought and does not come from materialistic possessions, that’s known as happiness or excitement. Joy can’t come from a house or a bank account. Joy doesn’t even come with success. Look at all of the celebrities in Hollywood struggling with drug addiction and depression. From the outside looking in, they seem to have it all. Lots of money, power, fame, good looks, and charm but do they have true joy?
“Most people are looking for joy but are drowning in pleasure.”-Pastor Al Toledo from http://chicagotabernacle.org
Sin can steal our joy, but true joy is found in Jesus alone and it is an eternal gift that no one can take from you. It is the second fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Joy is an internal confidence, radiance, thankfulness, peace, and an inner beauty that shines through you because your trust is in Jesus. Not in man, materialistic possessions, or in your social or economic status. A person with true joy will find the good in every situation even though they are in a battle and may be going through the fire themselves. People with undeniable joy will still have a smile on their face, a word of encouragement, and an inner confidence shining out through their personality. They will greet people they know or perhaps even a stranger with a friendly smile displaying and being the light of Jesus wherever they may go. “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.
“What is the difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is a fleeting and temporary emotion, where as joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details in my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation”. -Pastor Rick Warren
Since God’s Holy Spirit produces joy, joy now becomes a product of Christ-likeness. When we seek God through His word and in prayer, we will receive joy! Thank God that joy is something He wants us to have! You must display your joy for all to see and trust me, people will notice that there’s something very special and different about you. Don’t blend in with the world. The joy that the world offers is temporary and an imitation of the true joy only God can give us. Shine your joy among man so they can be drawn to you and see and feel the presence of God through you! Trust me, they will be able to identify a special light and joy from within you that sets you apart from others. “The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7). Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1: 8-9). The Spirit gives us eyes to see the beauties of Jesus that call joy up out of our hearts! May the joy of the Lord be your strength today and always!!
With love, hope, faith, and lots of joy,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 )
“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.” (Psalm 21:6)
Photos: by Victor Lozano @prozpris www.instagram.com/prozpris