What is Joy?
Joy is defined as gladness of heart. It is listed among the top five things people desperately want in life yet “never seem to be able to get”. Joy’s allusiveness, in many cases, is the result of our tendency to define joy as external to ourselves. We believe it is a person, place, or thing. Once we have “it”, we’ll have joy. Wrong!
Joy under Attack
As we survey the world we live it, gladness of heart is under attack. Our attempts to navigate 21st century living seem more daunting and challenging with each new day. Financial worries served as a significant source of stress ranking higher than three other causes of concern: work, family responsibilities, and health concerns.
Work, family, and health concerns have exploded with the advent of COVID and its variants. So how can we find joy? The Apostle Paul shares the secret of not only how to find joy but also how to return to it in spite of the pressures we might face.
Source of Joy
In Philippians 4:4, Paul exhorts the Church at Philippi to holy joy and delight in God.
Delight yourselves in the Lord, yes, find your joy in him at all times. (Phillips Translation)
God has furnished us with joy even in the worst of circumstances. Nehemiah in the midst of hostility and threats, said that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Neh. 8:10). David acknowledged that “in God’s presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). Jesus instructed His Disciples “to live in The Vine”—in Jesus’ holy presence (John 15:5-11). By living in the Vine, Jesus’ joy would remain “in them and be full.” These same offers of joy are extended to you and I who live in the 21st century. Jesus is the source of our joy.
Returning to Joy
It is God’s desire that we return to joy regardless of life’s circumstances or difficulties. Jesus describes these as “tribulations” (John 16:33). Tribulations and trials are “natural outcomes” we suffer as a result of living in a fallen world.
We experience the effects of fallenness every day. They include death, disease, and difficulties. However, in Christ and as God’s children, we have been provided with God’s Presence (The Holy Spirit), God’s blessings (Eph. 1:3-17), and God’s inexhaustible grace to sustain us (Phil. 1:6).
Returning to joy strengthens our resolve and helps us to continue the purpose God has set before us. Such strength can only come from Eternal God Who helps us through the worst of circumstances. When we come into the presence of the Lord, we connect with His great and eternal power. God’s power exceeds anything we can do in our own strength (Phil. 4:13).
We are invited to return to the joy that comes from serving God who is sovereign and who has overcome the world (Ps. 119:89-91). As we close the door on 2021, let us prepare to follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition to find our joy in the Lord.
May the joy of Jesus fill your heart.
May His joy be full and complete in your life.
Have a blessed Christmas!
 Top 5 include: Happiness, Money, Freedom, Peace, Joy