First up in our fruits of the spirit study is JOY. I feel that many of us spend much of our life wondering, what is joy and how do we get it?
Have you ever met those perpetually perky people? Maybe thats you, but it is most definitely not me. I am often grateful and happy, but struggle to find true joy daily, especially in the midst of struggles. Why? Self focus. . . ouch! That hurts but honestly that is the truth of the matter for any of us who have Christ in our life and struggle to find joy. We plead with Christ to help us find joy, but are we really yielding to His spirit to allow the restoration of joy?
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”Psalm 51:12
If I obtain joy through loving Christ more, but find myself lacking joy, then logically I am choosing to love self more than choosing to love Christ. If we remember from the previous study posts, that God doesn’t want us to focus on getting, or keeping joy. He wants us to focus on loving Him more today, that we did yesterday. Lets study this a bit deeper.
So if we look at those original questions, what is joy and how do we get it? We see that the answer ultimately lies in Christ.
What is joy is much easier to answer. The dictionary defines joy as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Rick Warren defines joy as “the settled assurance” of God.
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.”Rick Warren
When we study our scripture and the truths God provides us about joy, we learn that Biblical joy is choosing to respond with contentment and satisfaction within our souls in all situations. How can we do that? Because we know God is control of all, and we trust Him to care for us at all times.
So, how do we get this joy? How do we get to the point where we fully trust God and know He will be present, that we can find joy in all situations. Yes, pinterest, blogs, and Instagram tell us to CHOOSE JOY. But what does that really mean? How doe we actively choose joy daily?
We die to self and elevate Christ in our lives daily.
And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”Luke 9:23
We die to self when we deny our selfish desires and strive to be Christ like. This is easy to remember and quote, but harder to do in the moment. But God encourages us and lets us know that He will strengthen us. It is actually His joy to strengthen us.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.Nehemiah 8:10
His joy is what bought us our freedom from sin. He saw that joy of freedom for the people of the world, whom He loved and was wiling to go to the cross for us. How much more can we embrace the joy for which He paid the debt.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; 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 gives us so many promises throughout the scripture of providing joy to those who will follow after Him. Those who will take up His cross and follow Him, turning away from the worldly fleshly desires, and choosing Him daily. The best way I have found to do this is to meditate on His Word, post it around my house, and share it with others.
Here are some of my favorite promises regarding joy. I encourage you to meditate on, post, and share these verses:
- And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10
- Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13
- 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
- Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
- They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5
- Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13
- My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:2-3
- My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Psalm 63:5-6
- For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in themorning. Psalm 30:5
I would love if you would join me this week as we pray for guidance for Christ to share His joy as we die to ourselves and put Him before our own desires and temptations. Let us go forth and meditate on these words, post them around our house, and share them with others.
While we are not focusing on getting joy, but rather how Christ allows us to share His joy as we follow Him. Seeking how best to serve Him daily and choosing to follow Him daily, we will see that joy is the natural outcome.
What is your favorite verse that helps you to focus on Christ daily and His joy for His people?