How Can I Find Joy
By Caron Cline
The average individual possesses an inaccurate understanding of joy. Webster defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” The world’s definition would indicate that joy is quite transient, coming and going based on life’s happenings.
The word of God provides a promise of abiding and enduring joy available for every follower of Jesus Christ, regardless of circumstances. However, this is no mere emotion, but a state of being in the midst of pain, adversity, and confusion. The secret to experiencing God’s joy is setting our hearts and minds on the things above, focusing on our future inheritance, both in this life and in the one to come.
Throughout the Old Testament, glimpses of joy arise. Nehemiah received an assignment from the Lord to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonian invasion. Once the wall was completed, the people were gathered together while Ezra, the priest, read the Law of the Lord to the crowd. The people began to weep at the sound of God’s words, but Nehemiah said, ‘Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’. (Nehemiah 8:10) The word of God has the power to convict of sin as well as to convert and cleanse from sin. Rather than mourn over past iniquities, we must receive the joy offered in the grace, strength, and mercy of God.
In Psalm 30, David penned this song of thanksgiving for the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies. The situation seemed hopeless; death seemed imminent. Yet David trusted in the goodness and faithfulness of God. He said, Weeping may remain for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Whether David lived or died, he was confident that in God’s presence there was the fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11) He looked forward to a gloriously joyful future. Psalm 126 is another song describing God’s deliverance of His people from Babylonian captivity after seventy long years. During those years of struggle and sorrow in a foreign land, many tears were shed. However, God had tucked a promise into the writings of the prophet Jeremiah which stated that after seventy years, the people would be released. Psalm 126:5 says Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. Joy sprouts when tears water the seeds of God’s promises.
If ever anyone painted a portrait of joy amid tribulation, it was Jesus. Isaiah 53 describes Him as the suffering servant. He was despised and forsaken of men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried…He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…He was oppressed and He was afflicted…But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief. Who could experience joy in the face of such horror? Jesus! How? He looked ahead to a joyful future with His bride. Jesus is our example and the writer of Hebrews reminds us once more of the secret to experiencing abiding joy. Hebrews 12:2 says, Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The price for our souls was Jesus’ life and yet He endured the pain and suffering by focusing on God’s promise in John 3:16. For God so loved the whole world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Nothing brought Jesus more joy than the prospects of redeeming humanity from the slave market of sin, death, and the devil. Every strike of the whip and every bang of the hammer could not compare to the moment when He would be resurrected and Satan would be forever defeated!
How can we endure with joy the many tribulations that come from existing in a broken world? First, by receiving Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as the payment for our sins; secondly, by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; lastly, by taking up our cross daily and following Him. On the night that Jesus was betrayed He made this promise to all who followed these steps: These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy made be made full. (John 15:11) Joy is always within reach; just grasp His nail-scarred Hand.
Caron is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. She loves to teach the word of God.
Her desire is to see every believer grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Read more good Christian news from Caron HERE.