The Gift of Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 4-7.

Is joy a feeling or a state of mind? Are joy and happiness the same thing? Why is joy a gift? When was the last time you experienced real joy like the child in this photo?

What is joy? Definition … “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight (rejoice)”.

To rejoice is to have a deep sense of delight. The Greek word literally means “for the heart, in its deepest place of passion and feelings, to be well.” For the heart to feel very well. That’s what it is to have joy: to rejoice the heart.

J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye, once wrote, “The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.” While both are emotions, happiness is derived from external things, while joy is about the inner self. Joy is not static, but ever-changing, evolving with time.

”Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.”

How many times is joy mentioned in the Bible? Old Testament = 155 times; New Testament = 63 times (NIV). The Bible says God gives us joy and peace. It tells us that real joy comes from God and is ours forever. Joy, therefore, is the natural response to God’s gracious gift.

Being joyful requires us to feel connected to other people in life, with nature, by appreciating the arts, and it requires an acceptance of life, as it is, in the present.

If joy is so powerful, then why do people have such difficulty experiencing and/or expressing it?

  1. JOY requires _______________ TIME_________________________________
  2. JOY requires ___________ ACCEPTANCE_____________________________
  3. JOY requires ______________ DESIRE________________________________
  4. JOY requires ____________ ENDURANCE_____________________________

Joy transforms our difficult circumstances into times of blessing. Something we should all be mindful of as we near the end of a very challenging 2020.

My wish for you this holiday season is that your life, and the lives of your loved ones, may be filled with joy, thanksgiving and hope. Hope for a bright, joy-filled future ahead.

Enjoy the journey!

John

References:

  1. The Gift of Joy by Br. Curtis Almquist … https://www.ssje.org/2005/12/09/the-gift-of-joy/
  2. How Do You Define Joy by John Piper … https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-do-you-define-joy