You are pressing your way through the day, negotiating contracts in a business environment that takes no prisoners, that increasingly knows no ethical boundaries, and at best promises a hazy financial future. It is exactly here that you are commanded to Rejoice in the Lord always (Phil. 4:4a).
Right. Ill put that on my do list, and will choose to be joyful – starting tomorrow – since today I am too wrung out to even think about it! Gods word gives us no room for whining or excuses, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (Jms. 1:2) How is this remotely possible?
Well, we know from Scriptures that joy can reign in our lives amidst trials and sorrow. Jesus, for example, assured his grief stricken disciples of joy and hope as they faced the specter of him going to the cross, I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (Jn. 16:20-22) (See Rom. 5:3-3; Heb. 12:2; I Pet. 1:6-8)
What exactly is this joy I am suppose to experience? Certainly there is little around me that fosters inner joy. For starters, joy is not to be confused with happiness, which is based on circumstances. Nor is joy an emotion we can conjure up. We err if we confuse joy with pleasure. Actually the Greek word for pleasure is hedonism the prevailing philosophy of our self-absorbed, pleasure seeking culture. A hedonist is a person who is a lover of pleasures more than [a lover] of God. (2 Tim. 2:4)
As we choose to live in an abiding relationship with God (John 15), we find ourselves surrendering to his promises and eternal purposes. It is then that we experience his inner joy as he liberates us from our fears as he demonstrates to us that he indeed is worthy of our trust. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right handI trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvationMay all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, The Lord be exalted! (Ps. 16:11; 13:5; 40:16) (See Ps. 32:11; Lk. 10:20; Jn. 15:11; 17:13; Rom. 15:13)
The path to experiencing His inner joy begins with simple and immediate obedience to His word and to the inner prompting of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is then free to release its fruit in our lives as expressed through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22b)
You can be sure that the Enemy of your soul seeks to strip you of your joy through acts of disobedience. May God grant us deliverance from being put in King Davids position after his adulterous affair, as he desperately cried, Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Ps. 51:12)
QUESTION: Is joy an integral part of your daily experience with God? Are there actions you need to consider taking as you to continue to cultivate this marvelous gift from God?