Every year for the past 5 years, instead of writing New Year's resolutions, I have chosen a word to represent the changes I want to make in my life. For 2012, I chose the word JOY.
Tonight, when meeting with my co-op accountability moms, I was reminded of my commitment to work on JOY. If you read my post yesterday, you know it's been a tough few months for us, and to be honest, I haven't thought a lot about JOY lately, except maybe my lack of it. And now it's "J" week in Blogging through the Alphabet. Coincidence? No way! Who says God is not about the details?
It's really easy to talk about joy. To imagine it. We all have a picture in our minds of what it should look like. So why is it we all struggle so much with finding it? Perhaps it's because we really have no idea where joy truly comes from. I think we often think of joy as something that we feel when things are going well in life. We equate joy with being happy in our circumstances. If things aren't going well, we can't possibly be joyful.
But is that true?
Where exactly does joy come from? And can we have it, whatever our circumstances? I think so. In fact, I know so. Joy is not something dependent upon our day-to-day circumstances. It's not something we feel when things are going well, and lack when things are tough. If we take a peak at the only source of truth, we can find out where joy comes from, and how we can rest assured that it is ours, no matter how we feel.
1. Joy comes from what we believe about God
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ~1 Peter 1:8-9
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13
Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigns! ~1 Chronicles 16: 31
The joy of the Lord is your strength. ~Nehemiah 8:10
2. Joy comes from praising God
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. ~Psalm 5:11-12
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. ~Psalm 47:1
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King. ~Psalm 98:4-6
3. Joy comes from what we do for God
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:2-4
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. ~Philemon 1:7
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. ~Hebrews 1:9
Joy is not about how we feel, or what's going on in our every lives. It's not about being happy. It is not affected by external factors. Joy is internal. It is inside us when we accept Jesus as Savior. Joy is all about love. God's eternal, sacrificial, die-on-the-cross, nothing can separate us kind of love.
There is nothing that can take that from us. Not an illness, a difficult marriage, a wayward child, a bad day, financial worries, an abusive childhood, friendships gone awry, the death of a love one.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39Whatever our circumstances, we can find joy, if we know where to look.
Do you know the joy that comes only from a relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior? If you'd like to discuss that, I would love to share more about Him with you. You can email me through that email linky at the top of this page.