I’m wondering if there’s some sort of subliminal message I’m receiving. I’d mentioned on the blog that I’d be posting about joy during November. Well, on Sunday, my husband’s lesson in our Sunday School class focused on joy, as did our Pastor’s Sunday morning sermon. I guess I’m in good company by addressing this topic!
So how do we describe joy? It’s typically thought of as a feeling we experience, one of great happiness or pleasure. It’s living in a place of delight and gladness. I certainly want to feel that way, don’t you?
We all know that it’s easy to feel joyful when life is going along smoothly. And we’ve likely also known someone who was going through a very difficult time, yet still had joy in their heart.
Joy is another fruit of the Holy Spirit. Just like we talked about with love, we can’t just work up true joy on our own. It is shown in our lives as we yield to the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives.
I thought we’d begin this study by looking at where we can find joy, based on one of my favorite verses on the topic.
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” ~Psalm 16:11
Here are three ways we can find joy.
1. We find joy in trusting God.
When we’re trusting God to direct our lives, we have joy because we know that God is in control. He will “shew [us] the path of life.” You may be facing circumstances today that make you feel the opposite of joyful! Yet we know that God is loving and good, so He will only allow what is ultimately best for us.
It’s often during the hard times that we see the Holy Spirit at work, as He gives us joy that defies our normal reactions. It can be a testimony to fellow Christians as well as unbelievers when we have joy in the midst of our trials.
I love this definition of joy from Kay Warren:
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
2. We find joy in God’s presence.
We’ll know ultimate joy when we are with God in heaven. But how can we be in His presence today? Through prayer, and perhaps even more specifically, through focusing our prayers on praising and worshiping Jesus. I’ve confessed this before, but too often, I run to God’s throne overburdened with requests, and never take time to concentrate on praising Him.
Spending time with God can only increase my joy. I love that we can have not just joy in His presence, but fullness of joy! That’s no small dose that barely gets me through the day, but a cup overflowing with joy, that even leaks onto others!
Psalm 43:4 says, “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.”
3. We find joy in God’s provision.
The Psalmist says that at God’s right hand, there are pleasures forevermore. In heaven, we’ll certainly experience all the beauty and blessings that He’s preparing for us now. Yet I believe we get so many of those pleasures here on earth, too.
Yet what’s pleasing to me? Is it always just a big vacation, good health, more possessions? Or am I pleased when I see spiritual growth in the life of my child? Do I find pleasure in the beauty of God’s creation? When the pleasures I value line up with the pleasures He has in store, there’s a sweet spot of joy.
Just like we as parents enjoy blessing our children with good things, so I think God delights in pleasing us with His abundance. Let’s not miss the joy and blessings – both big and small – every day!
Today let’s allow the Holy Spirit to produce joy in our lives as we trust God with our present and our future. Let’s spend time with Him, and take note of all the pleasures He sends our way.