What comes to mind when you think of joy? Is it happiness? This is what most people think joy is. Joy, however, is not happiness. In fact, it is so much more than just happiness.
Happiness, although wonderful, will cause our life to blow like the wind if it was only based on how happy we were. If things are going well in life, there are no dramas, or sickness, we feel happy. When challenges come our way, we don’t feel happy.
Happiness is not something that can carry us through the ups and downs of life. Joy on the other hand, has a much deeper meaning and a greater foundation. When we live in the true essence of joy, no circumstance can shake us.
HOW CAN WE HAVE JOY IN DIFFICULT SEASONS?
How can we be joyful through challenging circumstances? How can we be joyful when we feel sick? How can we be joyful when we are frustrated? How can we be joyful when we have been mistreated? How can we be joyful when we are still waiting for God’s promises to come to pass?
Think about a challenging situation you are in at the moment, or have been in the past. How did that made you feel? Some challenges can rattle us to our core, causing us to feel completely overwhelmed. They can make us feel sad, scared, anxious, out of control, and all of these emotions are real. They are a natural response to our circumstances. If this is so, how do we navigate the reality of challenging seasons and stay joyful?
Firstly, joy is not a momentary condition. It has nothing to do with what is going on in our lives, whether life is going great, or if you are experiencing some challenges. Joy has nothing to do with happiness, but it has everything to do with hope.
Where does that hope come from? Our hope comes from Jesus Christ who is our sure foundation.
And His name shall be the hope of all the world. Matthew 12:21 (TLB)
If we understand where our joy comes from, hope in Christ, then no matter what our natural response is, joy can rule our hearts. Joy is our trump card, our anchor.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)
Joy has the bigger picture in mind. When we look at having joy from the perspective of hope, joy will be a fountain of re-joy- sing. Rejoicing. Why? Because we know that our God wins every time. Joy is connected to hope, and hope is connected to our belief and trust in Jesus Christ.
WHAT DOES JOY LOOK LIKE?
JOY is His unconditional love for us. JOY is His faithful care for us. JOY is His complete pleasure in us. JOY is His undeniable promise to us. JOY is His unmatchable ability to overcome the world for us. JOY is His sold-out passion for us to succeed. JOY is His overcoming power working through us.
The biblical definition of joy tells us that joy is dependent on who Jesus is rather than on who we are, or what is happening around us.
Through joy, purpose and hope is released. For us as God’s children, the power of joy is never-ending. Joy enables us to experience life to the full, the way Jesus intended it for us.
PRAISE TO GOD FOR OUR LIVING HOPE – OUR LIVING JOY
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)
Trust God in your journey.