Joy is an interesting thing.
I love joy. I’m not sure, though I understand joy.
I love the ways in which God provides joy and I love to hate the ways Satan tries to steal it away.
Joy is not happiness; it does not waver with circumstance. It is a sense of comfort and contentment that overtakes our soul.
The concept and expression of joy is plastered all throughout Scripture. In Nehemiah we see that strength comes with joy. The Psalms are full of examples of people singing with joy. There is inexpressible joy in knowing Jesus. I could go on and on about the things Scripture tells us about joy, but the one thing God has been teaching me lately, is that joy is found ONLY in HIM!
How often, even in Christian circles, do we talk about “finding joy in our job”, or “finding joy in interacting with others,” or “finding joy in figuring out who we are in Christ”? To some extent these things are even Scriptural. It’s true: God DESIRES for us to find joy in life! However, as I read Philippians 4:4 the other day, He brought to light another way of thinking about this.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice!”
True joy is found only in Jesus. He doesn’t want us to find joy in our jobs. He wants us to find joy in HIM… which he may choose to give us through our jobs. He doesn’t want us to find joy IN our relationships with family and friends. He wants to GIVE us joy THROUGH our relationships with our family and friends. Yes, my family or friends can bring me joy, but there are also days when they can bring me grief, or pain, or frustration. But if we see God alone as the SOURCE of joy and choose to rejoice in HIM, then joy truly isn’t circumstantial. It remains even on the tough days at work or in the midst of broken relationships. It makes it possible to live out this command to be joyful ALWAYS when we remember where the joy comes from in the first place.