In the past few weeks God has been teaching me about joy, not only about obtaining it but also keeping it and what it really means to have joy. In the world we live in, it seems people are fighting a battle daily within themselves not to lose their joy. The sad truth though is that it is too easily lost. God has given us the gift of joy and made abundant joy available but it seems that we typically experience far less of it than He wants us too.
We lose our joy over hardships we face, like a bad economy, property of ours getting stolen, health issues, academic failures, job opportunities not being exactly what we had in mind or all they were described to be and the list goes on. But joy being a gift and a crucial part of our lives, even as Christians – shouldn’t we be more protective of it and not lose it so easily? I myself have been guilty of losing my joy easily and no longer want to give it up that easily. Not only me, but I have observed other people including Christians handing over their joy in exchange for bitterness or sadness way too quickly, easily and too often. Even Martha in the Bible was seen to give up her joy to easily and over a silly thing (refer to Luke 10v38-42).
According to Richard Blackaby, “If you want to know if someone is experiencing all God has provided for them in Christ, examine their joy.” This statement is very true. People who entrust their joy over to things, work opportunities or people, anything other than God easily lose their joy. The level of your joy can often be used as a way to recognize how close you walk to God. Our joy, if in the Lord cannot be taken away (refer to John 16v22). We determine the amount of joy we experience from God. We can let resentment take over our hearts or we can choose to allow God to fill us with His joy – even in our awful situations. We ourselves decide whether that situation is significant enough to steal our joy.
When we refer to Philippians 4v7, we learn that the peace of God that surpasses all understanding & stands guard over our hearts is what allows us that continued joy. Rejoicing in the Lord is a choice we make, one that goes far deeper than our present feelings. I feel, that too many of us – Christians & non-Christians, underestimate the power of joy as being joyful can sometimes be the most spiritual thing we do. Joy often surpasses things that we believe is more helpful like theology, Biblical exegesis and so forth. Sometimes all people actually desire to experience is joy… Many times, for people – even those involved in ministry, we become so engaged in what we are doing that we lose sight of joy, something which Jesus said is the natural by-product of the Christian life. (Refer to Galatians 5v22-23)
We should strive not to be like Martha. We need to ask God to enlarge our capacity of joy so that it won’t be venerable to shifting in the winds of life. We need to ask Him to ground His work so firmly and deeply in our lives that nothing robs us of our joy that comes from belonging to God. May He walk with each and every one of us through every experience of life, making our joy thresholds higher.
With God’s joy in us, our cups should overflow (refer to John 15v11) as our limited human bodies can’t contain all the joy Jesus desires to share with us. There is just too much for us!