Can someone coach me regarding this whole matter of joy which appears to elude and escape me? Where can I find joy? Why do I find so many people know very little about joy? What can I do to experience joy?
Joy is a by-product of love, and it follows love.
If a man concentrates on finding JOY it will elude him. He will miss it.
Things and people come and go, as do pleasures. What lasts is faith and hope, and love.
All this led me to a serious study of the topic of joy and I went to Paul’s letter to the Galatians Chapter 5 and verses 22 and 23.
The source of JOY is our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
When we are down, or depressed, or feeling dejected, or under attack, it is good and wise to come to God and to Jesus Christ, and allow the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ to minister to you.
Psalm 73 has much to teach us in this important area, from an Old Testament perspective..
What is the way out – out of that cloud – away from that shadow – out of that depression – out of that despair – out of that darkness?
We make our way to God – normally publicly – in the open – in fellowship with others. If you try to do it in a corner, you may just become more entrapped in the vicious circle of depression.
The more you look at your problem, the less you look at Jesus.
He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows.
We read in John Chapter 16 verses 17 to 22 – Jesus could see that His men were troubled. Jesus speaks to them – and explains the truth to them.
Jesus did not hide His chosen ones from reality, and every disciple of Jesus Christ needs to know verse 33. We need to know that it is there, because we may find ourselves needing these words more and more. “In the world you will have trouble – but take heed – cheer up – face reality – I have overcome the world.”
There is a relevant passage in Romans Chapter 5 verses 1 to 6. We read it in connection with LOVE, but see there the place of JOY. Do take time to read these various scripture passages. So often God has a special blessing for those who read His Holy Word.
In verse 11 there is a grand climax, “We rejoice in God. That can never be taken away from you. If you find your joy in God through Jesus Christ – no man can take that away from you. It is possible to lose it. It is possible to prevent the fruit of joy from growing, but that is a different matter.
Turn to the letter of James – and look at these opening words. It would appear that there is JOY, and there is something called PURE JOY.
Here is how we can experience PURE JOY. Whenever you face trials of many kinds, Jesus is giving you the opportunity to experience PURE JOY.
Yes, there is JOY in worship – yes, there is JOY which springs up in our heart when we see something fresh in the Word of God – or when we hear of someone coming to believing faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, there are other spiritual joys – but PURE JOY is to be experienced when we are facing trials?
And why? It is always good to know why.
It is always good to know the reason. Because you are sitting a test – Jesus is setting you an examination. He is testing your faith – your obedience. He is wanting to see how you are doing – and why? Because His aim is to develop perseverance, and the only way we can develop perseverance is by persevering.
Like most spiritual truths, you cannot learn this from a text book.
Are we passing the tests which Jesus sets us? What marks are we getting? Has God let you see your report card? How strong is your perseverance – your endurance?
I remember seeing soldiers in the Iraqi army deserting, because of bad and poor leadership. Sometimes when people are tested in the front line of the Church of Jesus Christ they run away – they desert. They are not deserting a bad leader – but Jesus Christ the King of Kings.
There is no JOY on the face of a deserter from the army of Jesus Christ.
Don’t be a deserter – that just leads you into the desert – years in the wilderness.
Be a disciple – face the trials – of many kinds – they will come at you from all directions – air, sea, land. It is the same in spiritual warfare.
Your perseverance is developed, and it can become a source of PURE JOY.
It may not seem joyous at the time – it may be very painful – but joy will be budding and about to burst forth into leaf – with Pure Joy being produced as a fruit.
One final passage – Acts Chapter 13 – Paul and Barnabas are on that first missionary journey. God spoke during a time of worship and fasting. They landed up in central Turkey. We never know where Jesus will lead us.
People were deeply upset at Paul’s preaching. His witness to Jesus Christ gave rise to scheming and plots.
Verse 50 – things went from bad to worse. Paul and Barnabas were physically expelled – thrown out – rejected – dismissed. But some had come to believe in Jesus, and they were filled with JOY and with the HOLY SPIRIT.
It is to these same people that Paul writes this letter of Galatians.
Verse 52 – You cannot be filled with JOY without the Holy Spirit, and you cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit without experiencing something of the JOY of Jesus Christ.
Father, fill me afresh and anew with Your joy. Come into any sadness with Your unconquerable gladness. Help me to radiate Your joy wherever I go. I realise it is not easy, but I ask for Your help.