Where is joy?
There are so many oppressive things in life. You listen to the news or read a news feed on your computer and you feel pressed down on every side. Accidents, illnesses, depression, suicide, broken families, terrorist scares, floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes. All of these weigh heavily on us. Feeling dissatisfied in a relationship, being hurt by a best friend, or a bad business deal can crush you. Circumstances can bring us low.
Yet Scripture tells us to “Always be joyful” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NLT). Did you catch that? Always. Not just when circumstances are pleasant. Not just when life is good, but even on the horribly, terrible, bad days, we are to be joyful.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is through the Spirit at work within us that we are able to know joy in times of deep trouble, when life seems so overwhelmingly hopeless.
But, it isn’t only when things are terrible that our level of joy fades, too often it seems joy is rare in every day life. I recently noticed that to be true in me. I feel hungry for more joy in my life. I did a little Bible word study in order to learn more about joy.
Here is what I discovered from some of the verses I read.
Joy is found in reading God’s Word and knowing that our belonging is in Him.
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.”
Psalm 119:111 “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”
When we take time to be in the Word, He leads us in delighting in Him, in finding joy in Him. I find that joy comes in seeing how intimately He knows my heart and the neediness of it. He meets me in His Word in a personal way, drawing me to Him in deeper connection.
Joy is found in receiving from the Lord.
John 16:24 NLT “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
When we pray to the Lord and look expectantly to Him for answer to the words of our prayers, we can find joy in Him answering us in beautiful, creative, loving ways.
A few weeks back I prayed for the Lord to make His presence known to me in a special way, I wanted Him to reveal Himself to me in a way He had not before. That afternoon He showed me a beautiful butterfly that sipped nectar and flew around me repeatedly as I mowed the lawn. The butterfly in its fluttery dance filled my heart with joy in the Lord’s gift of creation. It was a precious time. I found “JoyWings.” My heart found wings to fly to the Lord, my heart was filled with joy in Him.
Joy is found in the presence of the Lord.
Psalm 16:11 NLT “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your hand are pleasures forevermore.”
It is in our quiet times seeking the Lord, looking to know more of His love and as we know His presence we know joy. He leads us in wisdom, He shows us our path, He touches our individual lives in such a way that we find joy in His closeness.
Joy is given from God.
Romans 15:13 NLT “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Isaiah 29:19 NLT “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.”
The hope that we have in knowing all the Lord has done for us brings joy to our hearts, it is a resulting gift. It is Paul’s prayer here in Romans that God fill us with joy. We can continue to pray for this as our personal prayer for our lives.
The second scripture tells us that walking in meekness leads us to the promise of fresh joy in the Lord. (See my post Surrendering: Growing Meek in Spirit for a better understanding of growing in meekness and what that means.) Reading the Word, digging deep for understanding, and then walking in obedience can bring joy as the Lord is faithful to fulfill His promises.
I found new hope for living joyful always as I read these verses.
Finding JoyWings every day to fly to the Lord with praise and to give Him glory is my hope as I continue on this journey of knowing Him more.
Are you joining me in looking for JoyWings?