I Find Joy in Jesus!
During the Christmas season last year, one of our local Christian radio stations published a “Joy Pledge.” It said:
The message was clear. Because of our relationship with Jesus, we can find joy in any and every circumstance. God has not promised to keep us from difficult circumstances. Instead, He has promised to make us victorious in everything we face. But the key is that joy is a choice, not something that happens automatically just because we have accepted Christ Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We must choose joy. So how do we find joy, when we face adverse circumstances?
Before I answer that question, I want to make sure we understand what joy is. Joy isn’t the same thing as happiness. Happiness has to do with outward circumstances. When we get a job promotion or receive an unexpected financial blessing, we feel happiness. But when we lose a job or have unmet financial needs, the happiness is gone. Joy isn’t like that. It is not affected by outward circumstances, but instead springs from the work of God in our hearts. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
HOW DO I FIND JOY?
- I find joy by putting my trust in the Lord. “Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. (Psalm 86:4 NIV)
- I find joy by abiding in Jesus’ love and obeying His commandments. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:10-11 NASB)
- I find joy by spending time in God’s presense. “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” (Psalms 95:2 NASB)
- I find joy by reading and studying God’s Word. “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8 NIV)
- I find joy by being upright in heart. “Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.” (Psalm 97:11 NIV)
- I find joy by confessing my sin and asking God to give me a pure heart. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)
- I find joy by choosing it, regardless of circumstances. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NASB)
Findig joy in our relationship with the Lord isn’t automatic. It’s a choice we can make in the strength that God provides, and the first six points above give us some keys for making that choice. The seventh point reminds us that it’s possible to find joy in the Lord, regardless of what’s going on. Trusting God, growing in our relationship with Him, turning our eyes on Him instead of focusing on and complaining about our adverse circumstances are all important. Even in the midst of grief, chronic illness, financial struggles, and any other trial you can name, joy can be found. Joy is the settled assurance that God is good and that He is in control of all the details of life, even when we don’t understand what is going on. It is the quiet confidence that in all things He is working for our good because we love Him and have been called according to His purpose.