One of my absolute favourite fruits of the spirit is, JOY!
There is nothing more beautiful than feeling uncontainable joy bubbling up from within. If you could bottle that feeling it would be worth millions and sell quicker than any perfume on the market today (sorry Mr Armani!)
The dictionary defines joy as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. It lists other words for joy as: delight, great pleasure, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, exuberance, elation, euphoria and on and on.
I read an article by the pastor and author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’, Rick Warren, about joy, and his definition which resonated with me, was…
‘Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation’.
In the bible there are different circumstances that produce joy and they are:
The joy of our salvation, when we get saved and fully realise the unbelievable benefits of our choice and that we will be with God for all eternity. Luke 15:7 there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
The joy of deliverance, when someone gets set free from something that has been oppressing them. 1Samuel 2:1 Hannah was filled with joy at her deliverance from her enemies.
The joy of spiritual maturity, as we grow in our relationship with Him and He produces within us more fruit of the spirit. John 15:11 The fullness of joy comes to those who continue in the love of Christ and obey Him.
The joy of God’s presence, as we spend time with God we are filled with joy in His presence. Psalm 16:11 “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
I think as we grow up we often think that joy is the direct result of our circumstances, don’t we?
However, living life as a Christian has taught me that we don’t have to wait for things to go our way to feel joyful. But, in fact we can choose how we react to the things that happen to us and around us.
We can actively choose joy.
Yes, that’s right! Our joy is not dependent on success, good fortune or getting the things we most desire. Instead, our joy is an emotion that is induced by a faith in a God that loves us and the certain and secure knowledge of our salvation and heavenly inheritance.
One of my favourite pieces of scripture is this verse;
“The Joy of the Lord is my strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
This means to me that whatever my circumstances or the upheavals of my day or week I have the assurance of Gods ultimate good plans for my life. It is all in His hands and He knows what I need more than I do.
Because of this I can put my trust in Him and have full confidence in Him because He is a good, good father. As I walk with Him in my day to day He reveals His goodness to me in the big and the small details and this relationship we have is one built on trust as He has never let me down.
Knowing this gives me a deep joy that is unchanging and unending because the character of God is never changing, and He will always be good no matter what happens in my life.
I have never known this to be truer, as I am currently walking through a difficult season as my husband battles cancer. There have been some pretty rubbish days and weeks over the last few months. But this is the cool bit…
I get to choose how to react to my current situation!
Now, I could choose to focus on the illness and the effects of cancer on our lives and reside in disappointment at having to give things up, say no to things I’d like to do but can’t in this season, get angry and frustrated at God like it’s all His fault (which it isn’t) and choose bitterness or anger very easily.
But, on the other hand I can choose to see all the good things in my life like, the friendships I have, the provision and kindness of God in my every day and I mean even in the smallest of things that make my life easier, the church family He has put around me who are holding us up in prayer and providing meals, lifts, surprise gifts and so much more.
What response can I have, but JOY at how fortunate I am that my Papa loves me so much that He chooses to look after us through this and give us many moments of deep, overflowing JOY as we rest in Him and He loves us through it so well.
When I see the way the treatment and prayer are having such a big impact on this cancer I feel jubilation and triumph and the opportunities God is giving us to share the good news about where we get our joy is priceless. People around us have literally been amazed at the joy we are exhibiting in our current circumstances and because this is so unexpected they ask questions. Surely, it’s not normal they say, to be this joyful?
So, what are your circumstances or challenges today?
No matter what they are you can choose many responses, but I urge you to choose joy! If you are troubled or anxious about anything and not sure how to choose joy, ask God to supernaturally open your eyes to who He is and to give you a deep revelation of the joy from being His.
My prayer for you is this;
“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