Joy that Sticks
Happiness can be hard to find…and even harder to keep.
But oh girls, we do keep pursuing it don’t we? And when it hits – ah it feels so good, that rush of endorphins numbs out the pain and we feel, for a moment, that we can go on.
But like with a drug, the high quickly fades. Exhausted we look around helplessly as reality crashes back in. Where did it go? We had it – that elusive “arrival” – for a moment. Now we are back where we started, lost in our pursuit of happiness.
So what can we do?
Are we to remain trapped forever in this cycle of winning and losing, hoping that the good days ultimately outweigh the bad ones? Then will we be able to say that we achieved enough happiness that our lives were “worth it?”
Yes, that might be the case – if we don’t factor in joy.
What exactly is joy? Isn’t joy just another form of happiness?
Dictionary.com defines it as:
“an intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness; the expression or manifestation of such feeling.”
The Greek word for joy is chara, which means “joy, rejoicing, gladness-enjoyment, bliss.”
So where does that leave us? Joy sounds like just a really big hit of happiness.
In Beth Moore’s study Living Beyond Yourself, she delves into an in depth look at the fruit of the Holy Spirit. According to Galatians 5:22, the second fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy. And in this fourth week of our study with Beth, we discover some of what the Bible teaches about joy and how we can have it.
Joy – the Good News
From what we learn in the Bible we can be assured that the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is not fleeting like happiness. No, this joy is stick to your soul, get you through the dark days, powerful stuff.
Now in this little blog entry, I can’t list you the hundreds of verses that talk about joy in the Bible. But, I can encourage you to study some of them on your own. And maybe to even consider doing Beth Moore’s study. Her studies get you to dive deep into God’s word and hear what he is trying to teach us. It is available online and you can do it at your own pace.
But here I will try to briefly mention a few verses and outline some of the highlights of Beth’s teaching.
Beth describes five reasons or catalysts for joy in our life. I thought these were a great summary and wanted to share them with you.
Joy is the result of :
- realizing that our names are written in heaven
- discovering the person, power, and plan of God in our multitude of circumstances
- remaining in Christ
- relating God’s way to God’s people
Joy is not fleeting.
It comes from knowing who we are in Christ and what a glorious home he has prepared for us in heaven. “…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20b
It comes from that incredible discovery of all he and has planned for us. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” Luke 2:10
It comes from him restoring us from our sinful state and from sharing the suffering of Christ. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
It comes from remaining in Christ and growing and thriving in his power and Holy Spirit. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9&11
And it comes through loving fellowship, encouraging and empathizing with the body of Christ. “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 7
What great news! Joy can reside within us because of fact not feeling. That is reason for me to feel joyful!
An Important Point…
Even though we have this knowledge and joy can live in us through the Holy Spirit, we still may have times where we “lose our joy.” Beth points out some reasons we may run low on joy, based on Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 17-20. We are at risk of losing out joy:
- When our outpour exceeds our intake
- When our talk exceeds our walk
- When we become “wonder junkies”
- When we are exhausted
- When we feel all alone
If you are feeling lost and without joy, perhaps one of these risk factors got you. I know I succumb to all of them far too often. But no worries. You don’t need to stay down. Joy is ready and waiting for you in God’s presence. Go to him and drink in his healing. Joy is waiting for you. Whether you are in trial, loss, agony or exhaustion, joy is still possible. Sounds incredible, but I know that in my darkest, loneliest times, when I turned to God and sought his presence, promises and comfort, I actually found more joy than in all my happy days.
Dear God –Thank you so much for joy. Thank you that it is powerful and real and it doesn’t need to fade. Fill me up with it Lord and let it overflow to touch those around me.
A note to my blogging buddies:
Thanks for being a source of joy to me! As Beth points out, the fellowship of the body of Christ is a catalyst of joy. Many of you know I have been struggling this week, but your prayers, encouragement and friendship blessed me so much. Thank you!
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links
to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for
the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm – Saturday 8am.
Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is
welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live
beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of