Fruit of the Spirit Series
When most people think of joy, they might think of jolly St. Nick belly laughing with all his might as he exclaims, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’ While this image may even bring you a sense of joy reflecting on your childhood, there’s more to this 3-letter word than you realize.
Joy often gets confused for happiness. However, joy is drastically different – joy is a state of being where happiness is based on conditions. You would be ecstatic if you won the lottery, but you’d be devistated if you lost it all. The incredible thing is, you can have joy even when you do lose everything. Joy can support you when life seems to be crashing down around you.
A common verse you might have heard before is found in Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” This means that having joy will give you the strength – the strength that only comes from God – to help you in hardships.
Have you ever thought about how this would apply in your life?
Perhaps you’ve been in a place where people are against you and you feel isolated and rejected. Your natural reaction could be to sulk and to avoid these people who are hurting you. Yet the joy of the Lord is your strength, remember? As you recall this verse, you begin declaring God’s goodness over your life. You remember of all the times in past that He has been there for you. You begin to focus on how God sees these people, not as how they treat you. As a result, joy begins to well up on the inside. You can feel it rising, shedding off any negativity, rejection, and internal turmoil. Those hurtful words don’t pierce like they used to anymore. You have a newfound strength that is found in the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. Talk about strength – joy sure is powerful!
I felt that the Lord wanting me to touch on the subject of joy because not everyone is feeling joyful when it comes to everyday life. Some people I know have lost loved ones recently. Others seem to be facing bouts of depression, which makes them feel like the loneliest person in the world.
The key to learning this secret of joy is choosing to have it. Even if life is hard, we decide either to have joy or we fall prey as a victim of our own circumstances. We should not be reactive, having our feelings be based on whether we are having a good day or not. Jesus said that we’d “have trouble in this world. But take heart! I have overcome it” (John 16:33).
Do you realize that one of the ways that he has overcome the world is by giving us access to joy? It’s already been given, so we can choose to use it … or not.
Therefore, rejoice! While the pain can linger longer than expected, joy can help you get through the bumps in the road. So when you feel weak, come before God and praise Him for who He is and what He has done. You will see that joy will not only sustain you, but will be the strength you need to keep moving forward to conquer another day.