Joy

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy… (Gal 5:22)

JoyJoy is a word that I believe is easily misunderstood.  Let me give you an example. About eleven years ago, I adopted my little dog. I named her Joy because her personality radiates joy.

One day a young workman came to my house. After he finished the repairs in the kitchen he asked me, “You named your dog after soap?” He was referring to the bottle of Joy detergent that was on my kitchen counter. I explained that she was not named after soap, but I named her because she always acted so joyful. He did not seem to really understand, but I think that is not as unusual as it may seem.

Joy and happiness are often used interchangeably and people assume that they cannot have joy unless they feel happy. I disagree.

Webster defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well being, success or the prospect of possessing what one desires.” He also adds that it is the “state of happiness.”

It is easy to be joyful when you are happy and everything is going great. That requires no dependence on the Lord.  We can do that all by ourselves. The question is, can you be joyful if you are not feeling successful or about to possess what you desire? What if you have been waiting for something for 1 month, 1 year, 5 years or 22 years? Can you still be joyful?

The Lord wants us to be joyful in spite of circumstances. In fact, the Bible uses the word joy more than 166 times. Psalm 30:5 says that weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Whatever made David sad that night was probably still there in the morning.  The difference was his perspective.  Psalm 16:11 declares that “in Your presence is fullness of joy”. I believe that David’s joy came from experiencing the Lord’s presence.

We all have been granted the privilege of being able to boldly come into His presence.  We do not need special permission or have to wait for some appointed time.  The Lord loves it when we desire to come into His presence through prayer, worship or just sitting with Him. See Beside the Stream.

We receive our strength from the joy of the Lord. He delights to fill us with His joy.  His joy is not conditional because His joy is always available. Let us boldly choose to have joy come.

~ Marianne

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7 responses

  1. Hi Marianne:)
    I am in total agreement with your blog on JOY…..I finally became aware of the difference in JOY and happiness a few years ago as I have continued my walk with the LORD,,,,,,,I really appreciate you sharing this and by the way your dog….JOY,,,is adorable,,,,,Blessings for a wonderful and JOYFUL day ,,,,IN HIM,,,:):):)
    Marlene

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  2. Can I comment on my own wife’s blog? :-)

    I thought of a friend when reading this. That’s my prayer – joy and peace – for those who go through difficulties where God’s answer is not necessarily healing or delivering them from it. Not for the hollow “rah rah” kind of joy, but a deep abiding joy and peace.

    For me, I have learned gratitude even in the midst of the pain and diminished capacity – and even though there are days were I hurt like hell, and it’s difficult, I still know His presence and there is an underlying joy and peace.

    Those who try to spiritualize suffering, or say it’s because we are outside of God’s will, can never know the depth of grace that comes from joy and peace despite our circumstances.

    I recently read a blog saying that folks with autoimmune problems were suffering because they were promoting “religion”. They link joy and peace and God’s favor to circumstances. For such shallow faith, I feel sorry for them.

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  3. Jim, Marianne, thank you both. Marianne for writing this lovely and helpful post on joy, and Jim for commenting in a way that will, I think, melt some hearts.

    Here’s something I posted on joy a while ago – http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/2012/04/are-we-joyful-enough.html

    Marianne, would you be interested in adding your post on joy to the chain blog? Click the ‘Chain index’ for more details. It’s simple to do and connects related articles together so people can visit them all from one place.

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  4. Marianne, your blogs are where the rubber hits the road for me! I can’t tell you how much I look forward to each one and even keep copies of them on my frig. Caring for a beloved husband with dementia is devastating but even in this, God’s joy is absolutely incredible and keeps me flexible and peaceful when everything gets crazy. Like today when all my well laid plans went out the window (could that possibly be God’s intervention??) just before my husband of 57 years in great seriousness asked if I would marry him. After showing him our wedding album and explaining our life together (he couldn’t comprehend any of it), I joyfully suggested that we celebrate our marriage today. That made him happy. Truly God turns our mourning into dancing through His peace and joy! Keep writing, my precious gift!

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  5. Pingback: Patience « Crossroad Junction

  6. Pingback: Kindness « Crossroad Junction

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