I guess it seems that as a Christian you know you should have joy, we should be generally happy/joyful people. But this is hard. It feels borderline shameful if you're not characterized by joy but also something too lofty to conjure up. At times it's like the heartaches, stresses, and disappointments hold onto us and joy fades in the background.
As I was thinking about joy this week a lot of things that came to mind where more about pleasure, feelings, abstract, and fickle really. So let's dig in here... where do we find our joy? What is this intangible character all about? Is joy found in pleasure?
Where does joy come from?
Is it tasty indulgences? Comfort food that just makes you feel better...?
fancy pants delish food....
Joy - worry-free, serenity?
just doing this
and being right there
joy - romance, your Mr. Right?
joy in travel and discovery?.... and wearing that gorgeous dress while effortlessly hiking seaside mountains
The accumulation of the right experiences, possessions, identity, and relationships cannot alone bring joy. Joy is a quality that is permanent and fixed.
Joy is like light. The darkness is not actually gone but light is stronger. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overpower it (John 3:4). The creation account says that God brought light into the world. In this world we all have trouble but Jesus has overcome the world. Joy and sorrow can co-exist because joy is stronger than the sorrows we face.
Joy only comes from God. Joy isn't fragile.In fact, joy that comes from God is steadfast. It doesn't ebb and flow dictated by our circumstances or feelings. We can have a deep well of joy in our soul but externally we can be in the midst of serious challenges because we are connected to the One who is fullness of joy. In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). I like how C.S. Lewis puts it:
Joy is rooted in our identity and our destiny. It is based on truth. God calls us His children and promises us eternity with Him. These facts help lay the foundation for our joy. We will eternally be in the presence of Joy and we will live in a redeemed world. This hope is our anchor in the midst of our temporary circumstances and trials.
Our God wants to give us good gifts ( Mathew 7:7-11, James 1:17) and as Jessica explained, joy is a fruit of the spirit so joy is something that is available to all of us. I don't know what joy looks like in your life but I'd wager that it looks different from just sunshine, rainbows, and smiley faces, it is deep and strong and unwavering. I'm going to be asking God for more joy, I need it! Anyone with me?