Joy! Joy! Joy!
Joy is the desire of Jesus for each of His followers. It is to be a life abounding in joy. Absolutely full to the brim.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
What has your Christian walk been like? Full of joy? That is what Jesus wanted for each of His followers, His family members. We sing the “joy of the Lord is my strength.” Do you ever wonder where this joy comes from?
We are acquainted with the fruits that are produced in us as we stay connected to Jesus like a branch to the vine. Jesus told us that we can do nothing without Him. Understood.
Of all the fruits of the Spirit, joy seems to be the most elusive and missing. Why? It seems the more we strive for it the more elusive it is, always just out of reach.
Is it hand-clapping happiness? Dancing a jig happiness? Is happiness joy? Can we have it when we get bad news? Can we have it all the time or only while worshiping in church? What about the Christians in Nigeria who are being driven from their homes, killed, raped and injured? What about those believers who lost a limb or some other serious injury simply for claiming the name of Christ? Can they have joy?
What is joy based on?
If we remember, being a follower of Jesus Christ, is not common sense. It is the kingdom of heaven sense. This joy is the most surprising aspect of Luke 9:23 and Romans 6-8. It is something we can’t comprehend. Unreal. It is incomprehensible.
Only when we lose ourselves can we find joy. There is no other way. When someone wishes some of your joy would spill over on their sad lives, they don’t understand. They haven’t reached the necessary point. They desperately hang on to people, things, situations thinking they must have them to be happy. It is what is communicated by the secular world, TV, counseling. All about how you need to take charge of making yourself happy. Trouble is, it always needs replenishing. It is temporary.
No, no, not in Jesus’s kingdom. He has a surprise awaiting those who will look to Him and begin to let go of everything and everyone. He can only fill the space vacated for Him. He wants us to be filled with Him which includes His joy.
Too many times we listen to our enemy telling us that God is unfair. That He wants to take everything form us. A demanding God. And we believe Satan. Just as Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan, when he said, “Hath God said?” So he asks us and we fall for it. All the time. We allow doubt and fear to come in and reside in our minds.
I’ve been on the other side. I know what I’m talking about. There is joy. Real joy. Constant joy. Just under the surface, always accompanying my life. Ready to bubble up. How did I obtain joy? I didn’t. It was a gift. I didn't strive for it. A surprise gift. It came after I relinquished my life into His care. That surrender did not come easily, nor quickly, but eventually, it happened. Read here for more about exchanged life experience.
Every time I think of our Lord, His gift of salvation, His rescuing me, His transforming me, His delivering me from the darkness of depression without my help, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. All by Himself. Whether I’m sitting at a stop light, doing dishes, or visiting a loved one in jail, His joy flows through my veins. It never leaves me. It is nothing for which I can brag. I can only brag about Jesus because He is totally responsible for this joy.
And I am completely satisfied with Him as my savior. Andrew Murray says, “Joy is always the evidence that something really satisfies me and has great value for me.” It does not depend on circumstances, quality of life, people, family, or personal dreams fulfilled. It is totally above everything.
One more thing, Oswald Chambers says, “And once you do get to the point of total surrender to Him, you will be the most surprised and delighted person on earth.”
Words to light your path
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Psalm 89:16 In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 1:8 Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
Loving Father, I pray that our eyes will be opened to the truth. That we would see in surrendering to You, we will find joy. Amen.
All references are taken from the New King James Version.