Joy. It’s a word people don’t use often. We tend to think about happiness. Happiness is related to our circumstances. Our mood reflects what’s going on around us. It’s temporal and fleeting. For emotions, especially those of women, can change as quickly as the weather. Does this roller coaster leave you feeling empty? When we focus on our selves, our lives and our situations, we can become a victim of our own selfishness. We were not meant to look inward or around to find what makes us complete, but upward.
Joy comes from the Father. It is constant. Never changing. As is His nature. As Hebrews 13:8 says so perfectly, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Joy is rooted in knowing Jesus Christ as one’s Savior. In the depths of heartache and pain, there can be joy. On mountain tops of success, there can be joy. Joy is not dependant on our circumstances. As Paul said through the Holy Spirit in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Everyone quotes, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” But this verse isn’t about winning ball games or getting over a break up. Though, it can encourage you in those times. It’s about being truly joyful despite the circumstances. It’s about being content in Christ and Him alone.
Maybe you are thinking, “But I’m a Christian.” Could you have taken your eyes of the mark? Are you more concerned with who gets voted off the Bachelor? You may need a priority check. If you feel distanced from God, it’s not because of Him. It may be because you have become so distracted with earthly things that leave you empty. You have left His presence. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” If you are no longer taking time to get away with the Lord in the quiet of your day to allow Him to speak, if you are not pouring over His precious Word, do not be surprised, sweet friend, if you are no longer found in His presence.
I love John 15. What a sweet morsel of God’s Word. It speaks about how Christ is the vine, and we are the branches. If we abide in Him, He abides in us. When we abide in Him, we bear fruit. It is an active faith that lives out His commands, and He receives the glory. Our works do not save us, but they do define us. They testify of our relationship with the Lord. In the midst of this chapter on being connected to the life source and living for Him, loving one another to the point of death and being hated by the world, Christ says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) Notice what He says. His joy. He is the author and perfector of joy. It cannot be found apart from Him. He places His joy inside us through the power of the Holy Spirit when we are born again. When we are faithful to Him, we live in His presence, and our joy is full. Hear the words of Psalm 23:5b, “My cup overflows.”
When we walk with the Lord, it is evident. It doesn’t take self-righteous Facebook posts. People can see it all on their own, and they will become hungry for it. I love that Christ compares our work to fruit. Fruit can be consumed. It is nutritious. It helps sustain life. Christ uses our testimony to stir up the Holy Spirit in others. It is a healthy body of believers that brings about change in this fallen world.
May you know true joy in your life every single day no matter what each day brings. May you live out the Gospel in a way that challenges the very depths of who you are. And may the Lord receive all the glory! Be blessed!