People are constantly seeking happiness during their life. They seek for people, things, and services that they think will bring them happiness but often the feeling of happiness in fleeting. The reason is that happiness is a feeling that is dependent on circumstances. When the circumstances are right then we feel happy, like meeting that certain someone, having a child, or winning big prize on a game show. We are extremely happy at this turn of events but then the realities sink in and the happiness fleets away giving way to sadness. It seems like we are on this never-ending cycle of happiness then sadness then happiness again.
But GOD has something for us that is greater than happiness and that is joy. Joy is described from the original Greek word chara as steady gladness, cheerfulness, and calm delight. The great thing about GOD’s joy is that it is not based on circumstance but is instead based on our trusting relationship with GOD. GOD has seen us through some unpleasant and troubling circumstances so we have the calm assurance that He will see us through future troubles. That assurance can keep us in a state of joy knowing that GOD is always with us and according to Romans 8:28, we know that all things will work out for good for those who love GOD.
I think of the joyful assurance as like Jesus walking over the waves of the sea. His focus was on His Father, so He was able to have joy even thought waves of distress were under His feet. Peter was very joyful at the appearance of Jesus and wanted to walk on the sea also. Jesus bid him to come out and for a while when Peter’s gaze was on the Lord, he was able to walk on the water but then his gaze fell to the waves and his faith faltered. Peter lost the joy of coming to Jesus and began to sink. It reminds us of the times when we take our eyes off Jesus, and we can lose our joy.
The joy of the Lord is our strength, according to Nehemiah 8:10. The people of Israel were facing a very difficult time but by the encouragement of Nehemiah they were successful and then celebrated. It is the joy of our victories in Christ that carry us over the challenges of the future. We are often tempted to be discouraged but the joy of the Lord will keep us from discouragement so that we can face life with cheerfulness that will surprise people who know us.
One additional aspect of joy is the act of expressing joy which is called rejoicing. The apostle Paul encouraged his readers in Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. We can maintain our joyfulness by constantly expressing our joy in GOD by praising Him with enthusiasm. GOD is pleased when we rejoice for the things that He has done and the character of His nature. So, if you run out of reasons to rejoice, then simply go back to the Bible and you will find plenty to rejoice about. May the joy of the Lord fill your hearts to overflowing.