Joy: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.
As I was thinking about how to describe joy, how to differentiate it from just being happy, words that came to mind were ‘fullness’, ‘deep’, ‘substance’. And I think that’s just about perfect – where happiness can be fleeting or triggered by an event or good circumstances, joy evokes more of a ‘foundation feeling’ – it’s not rocked to and fro by what one is going through. Can one not be happy about something, but still have joy? Yes, I think so.
“Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.””
Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)
That is powerful, the idea that we can draw strength from joy! But is that any surprise? We have the best fortune (eternal salvation), the promise of well-being and success (as children of God, with Jesus speaking favor on our behalf), and the absolute prospect of possessing the desires of our heart!
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Psalms 37:4 (KJV)
Now, this isn’t saying that we won’t experience times of sorrow, or unhappiness. It’s an acknowledgement that we don’t have to let those emotions wear us down.
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning“.
As a fruit of the Spirit, it’s an obvious one, because you wear every day! Have you ever met someone and, just from looking at them, you knew there was something different? Later, you find out that they are a Christian, and you have that ‘aha!’ moment? That’s because Joy is that evidence of Christianity that has no choice but to ooze out of our pores!
So today, don’t forget to take hold of the promise that joy is part of your inheritance in Christ! That every day, every moment, you have everything you need to choose joy!
Heavenly Father, we hear your call to be joyful, and understand with our head that through that joy we will find strength. But there are so many times in life where it seems joy is just so hard to find. Please help us to, by faith, take hold of your promise of joy, to see through the dark times and truly know in our heart that joy is there for the capture. It is our given right, and we are believing you to fulfill this promise just as much as every other Word you have spoken. In Jesus’ name.