“I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”. John 15:11 (NIV)
Have you ever said these words “I just want to be happy” or “if I can just do this, get this, or go here I’ll be happy?” The problem is, after we get what we desire, we’re often left unsatisfied until we fulfill our next want. Like a yoyo, when we seek to be happy, our emotions are in a state of constant fluctuation. That’s why joy is critical to our Christian walk.
Joy is defined as a consistent feeling of great pleasure that is cultivated internally. However, despite its similarities, it’s different from happiness in that feeling happy is the result of a favorable, external circumstance; and because it comes from an outward source, happiness is not sustainable.
Joy is so much deeper. Why? Because it’s a choice rooted in the character and promises of God, and the fact that regardless of what happens in our lives, it is all working together for our good. Joy fills our hearts when we realize that because Jesus has already won the victory, everything we go through is all for our ultimate benefit.
Galatians 5:22 Tells us that joy is one of the fruits of the spirit, resulting from His presence within us. So simply put, happiness is based on what’s happening while joy is based on what we believe. Happiness is fleeting, while joy is consistent. Happiness relies on the external, while joy relies on what’s internal.
So how can we experience joy in all circumstances? I’m so glad you asked.
First, we must recognize that the joy of the Lord is our strength Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP); and the “strength” the Lord provides us to deal with difficulties and struggles is His grace. We can be secure in knowing that His grace (strength) is sufficient for us, whatever the challenge or circumstance, because His power is made perfect in our weakness 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).
Because the Lord knows the end from the beginning, He is already providing us the strength we need prior to the challenges He knows we will face; we praise God for the glorious grace (strength) He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son Ephesians 1:6 (NLT). Just let that sink in for a moment. Because we are His dearly beloved children, the Lord has already provided (not will provide, but has ALREADY provided) the strength He knows we’ll need.
Wow! When we change our thinking from a situational based perspective to an in-spite of perspective, we can truly experience the joy of the Lord.