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