JOY!!!!! What a wonderful word!!! We see it mostly at Christmas time on cards and ornaments and other decorations. We see the words JOY and REJOICE countless times in Scripture. But just what does it mean to YOU? Well, here is what JOY means to me….
WHAT IS JOY?
Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22&23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Joy is a mind set, not based on life’s “happenings” as happiness is. It was shown most purely to us in the life of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). Jesus was JOYFUL, so we should “set our minds” to be!!!
WHERE CAN I FIND JOY?
Psalm 16:11 tells us quite plainly that “…in [God’s] presence is fullness of JOY….” Do you realize that one of the basic attributes of our God is that He is omnipresent, or “everywhere present”? Wow. Do you realize what that means to us as believers, having Almighty God in the person of the Holy Spirit present with us at all times??? We can ALWAYS find FULLNESS of JOY, because He is ALWAYS with us!!! Does that excited you? It does me!
WHEN CAN I HAVE JOY?
In the midst of extreme trials…do you know Job mentions having JOY? Job, who had mental, physical, emotional trials…the death of his children,the loss of his fortune, terrible physical distress, a spouse who rejected God in tribulation, friends who thought sin in his life was the cause of his misery…. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:11 that we are to be “Strengthened with all might, according to [God’s] glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with JOYFULNESS;” Uh oh…patience? Longsuffering? and JOYFULNESS? Oh, yes! They go hand in hand.
One of the most beautiful pictures of JOY and REJOICING is found in the book of Philippians…Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. It was written from a Roman prison. Prisons have changed a great deal, and I do not think we can even fathom the filth and stench and darkness of a Roman jail. But there he wrote so eloquently of JOY!!!! One of the plainest, most direct verses being Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice.” I would challenge each of you to read through the book of Philippians any time you need JOY. Too many times we complain about the things we are going through and we never even think to look in His “guide book” for the answers and hope and joy that He gave us there.
The perfect picture of JOY is found in the life of Jesus…“Who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). He shared with His disciples in John 15 of Godly love and fruit-bearing, and He told them in verse 11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my JOY might remain in you, and that your JOY might be full.” He wanted those He loved to have this JOY that He had. Yes, He was facing the death of the cross, being forsaken by His Father, bearing the sin of the whole world on His holy self. But even through all of this, He had JOY, keeping ETERNITY in view. How much stronger would we be if we lived in joy and kept eternity in our view!
HOW DOES JOY MANIFEST ITSELF IN MY LIFE?
The Psalms are filled with JOY… we should SING for JOY…Zephaniah tells us that GOD sings for joy!!!!
“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Okay, here is a great one…”…Thou SKIPPEDST for JOY….” (Jeremiah 48:27).
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with JOY,….” (Philippians 1:4).
Joy is a gift to us from God, but I believe we must make a choice to live in joy each day. We must make a choice. We can choose to live each moment caught up in our trials and difficulties or we can choose to accept that God promised He would never give us more than we could handle. In every trial and tribulation there is a lesson to be learned, strength to be gained and joy to be found.
Whatever you are facing today, no matter how big or how small, choose joy. The bible say “the joy for the Lord is our STRENGTH”. Claim it today as God’s gift to you and use it! CHOOSE TO LIVE IN JOY! God is ALWAYS with you, even in the valleys of life and He wants to find the joy in your life because HE LOVES YOU!!!!
REJOICE IN THE LORD
God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD, though your testing seems long…
In darkness, He giveth a song.
I could not see through the shadows ahead,
So I looked at the cross of my Saviour instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day,
Then peace came, and tears fled away!
Now I can see testing comes from above,
God strengthens His children, and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging, more fruit I will bear.
O REJOICE IN THE LORD! He makes no mistake.
He knoweth the end of each path that I take!
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.
by Ron Hamilton, child of God, cancer survivor (based on Job 23:10)