Let’s talk about joy. Joy can be a noun or a verb. Joy is something we can feel and give, experience and express. Joy can be felt in a moment of true happiness or gladness, but it can also be felt in cases of tragedy. I know that for some, the last sentence can be difficult to swallow. I promise you it is a true statement.
A common misconception of joy is that it is extreme happiness or it is fleeting. The biblical definition of joy is calm delight, great gladness. Since joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22, it is not fleeting; it is actually an aspect of our Christian walk that should be steady. Now don’t get me wrong, I cannot say that I have mastered all the fruit of the Spirit, but it is an aspect of my faith walk I seek to grow in continuously.
As I looked through the Scriptures that use the word joy, and their various translations in Hebrew (Simḥâ), Greek (Chara), and Aramaic (Chedvah), I noticed in most instances where joy is used, it is in connection with a relationship with God. Often, in the Old Testament, when the people expressed joy or experienced joy, it was in relation to who God was to them or what He did for them.
The Profit Nehemiah stated in Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV), “the Joy of the Lord is our strength.” What is the joy of the Lord? The truth is you are, I am, and we are! He created us to be in a relationship with Him. We can find true joy not because of anything we can do but because of what God has and will do for us. We are strengthened as we know Him more intimately, and as we do, joy comes abundantly.
Previously I mentioned a definition of Joy being calm delight. We can experience calm delight in any circumstance, especially as believers of God, because of the relationship we have with Him. I cannot promise that every aspect of life will be filled with joy, but I can tell you that it is possible to have joy in all aspects because of our relationship with Jesus.
Here is the point. Joy = relationship (with Jesus). No matter what life throws at us, we can have joy. We can have joy because of our relationship with Jesus. He is right there with us in all things.
If you are not experiencing joy, I would encourage you to ask yourself - how’s my relationship with Jesus? I know, it may seem like a harsh question, however, there is truth found in it. If we are in right relationship with Him, we can trust Him. We can experience Joy because of who Jesus is. Don’t get me wrong, there will be situations where we may have to choose joy. Choosing joy, means choosing to experience this life with Christ at the center.
Dear reader, Jesus died on a cross and rose three days later because He loves us. I don’t know how I lived before I came to this knowledge. It saved my very soul. I don’t know of any other news that could bring so much joy to me. How about you? His love is completely filled with joy.
“Looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
Choose Jesus, choose joy, be in relationship with Him.
Therese Ragland is the Prayer Team Leader and a Contributor for Humble Faith Ministries, a working, single momma, and Life Coach. She loves Jesus and His people with truth and tenderness.