I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. I love Christmas songs, and one of my favorites is “Joy To The World.” It seems like all Christmas songs, whether secular or spiritual, help to awaken that joyful feeling. But is the holiday season the only time we should be joyful?
The dictionary defines joy several ways:
- a feeling of great pleasure or happiness
- a source or cause of great happiness or delight
- something that gives joy to someone
- the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune by the prospect of possessing what one desires
I see two main ideas here. One is the “feeling” of joy and the second has to do with a “source” that brings happiness, delight or joy.
It seems like all Christmas songs, whether secular or spiritual, help to awaken that joyful feeling. But is the holiday season the only time we should be joyful?
The Bible uses the word joy many times.
The joy of God came to focus in human history in the birth of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate this month. During this season, we often take time to read that wonderful passage in Luke where we see that joy and exultation in the angel’s announcement at the coming of the Christ Child (Luke 1).
Throughout Jesus’ walk on earth, he brought joy to those he encountered in a variety of ways, such as healing the sick or helping people understand the kingdom of heaven. I think about the story of Zacchaeus, who was in a tree when Jesus called to him. He quickly came down and received Jesus joyfully (Luke 19).
He had found the ultimate treasure in his life – Jesus Christ!
As Jesus’ death approached, He told His followers that soon their sorrow would be turned into joy (John 16). They did not understand this until the sadness of the cross gave way to the joy of the resurrection (Luke 24)! Because of His victory and the promise of His abiding presence, the disciples could rejoice even after the Lord went home to be with the Father.
Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord (Philippians 4:4). Joy is also mentioned as a product of a Spirit-led life (Galatians 5:22). Joy is one of the fruits of a right relation with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts. And it is not always a feeling.
In fact, our ability to experience deep, abiding joy has everything to do with the source of our joy!
Consider this: when a person walks with the Lord, he or she can continue to rejoice even when troubles come (James 1). Jesus spoke of those who could rejoice even when persecuted and killed (Matthew 5:12). Paul wrote of rejoicing in suffering because of the final fruit that would result (Romans 5:3-5).
Our ability to experience deep, abiding joy has everything to do with the source of our joy!
Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all God has given as they grow into right relationship with Him. This includes times of feeling joy, and times of the deep, abiding joy that comes from the source of our joy, even in trials or sorrow.
Does your joy depend on your circumstances, or your success at work, at home or life in general? Or maybe it is dependent on how you feel when you wake up in the morning? Maybe how your kids are behaving? Or whether or not you have a spouse?
Have you ever considered that the Christ Child born long ago in a manger, who lived, died, and rose victorious, should be the source of our joy?
What steps can you take to begin to find that deep, abiding joy in Christ? Will you open your Bible daily and begin to truly walk with the Lord? He is beckoning you to abide in Him so He can be the source of your joy!
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