What thoughts are running through your mind this morning? I am pondering joy. Joy filled my heart yesterday morning as I stood singing in my church worship service for the first time in over a year! My voice was muffled through a mask, but I know The Lord was glad to hear me singing again inside that holy place. I pray that the joy of Jesus will find you today and make your heart sing with gladness!
Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 – TLB
Isn’t it crazy how the jingles of a commercial can stay in your head for years, but you can’t remember a single item on your grocery list? Guess that means I am showing my age, huh? Well, there was this little jingle from the 80’s about “Coke”. Perhaps some of you will recall it. It chanted, “Coke…It’s the real thing!”
The real thing…isn’t that what we want? Not some cheap imitation. We want quality. We want the best.
So, I ask you, why do we strive for happiness, when joy is a much better way to live?
Perhaps we settle for the cheap imitation of happiness, because joy requires us to dig deeper, to believe in something more, something greater than ourselves.
To find true joy, we must look in the right places. To find the real thing, we must look to its source. Joy has its origins in understanding Jesus’ amazing love for us, His great sacrifice on our behalf, His faithfulness to our every need. Joy comes from resting in the knowledge that He will work it all out for good. Once that understanding has seeped into the depths of our souls, joy can bubble up to the surface and find its way to the light.
To experience joy, we must first understand that real joy is not the absence of hardship. Joy is choosing to live abundantly despite our difficult circumstances. Joy is not dependent on everything working out perfectly. Rather, joy sees the loss, bears the heartache, endures the tragedy, and goes on with life anyway. Joy chooses to rise above.
Joy reaches deep into the depths of our souls to find the anchor that cannot be dislodged. True joy comes from knowing God and trusting Him to work out all things together for our good. Joy flows from that trust. Placing our hope in Jesus allows us to see the good things, even when the bad things still encircle us.
When things go awry and we don’t get what we want, we see the world as dark and menacing. It’s as if we put on blinders that keep us focused solely on the bad stuff. Joy has the power to remove those blinders. Once removed, we can see that there is sunshine despite the shadows. We can enjoy the fragrance of the flowers and not be mired in the mud of our failures.
Joy is a deeper, more satisfying state of being. It recognizes that there will be hard days to come, but it chooses not to focus on them. Joy chooses to focus on “now”, on the good things right now, and there are so many good things.
Joy is living abundantly despite our circumstances. The key to abundant life is found in Jesus. When we put our trust in Him, we can let our heartaches, our fears, our failures fall away. We can reach out to grasp His hand and walk bravely forward into the light of another marvelous day.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11 – NIV
O Dear Jesus, may we find the real thing, the real joy that comes from knowing You. May we rest in the abundance of Your steadfast love, the assurance of Your forgiveness, the glory of Your amazing grace. May that knowledge seep deep into our souls, allowing a wellspring of joy to bubble up and transform our lives. May the world see our joy, and through our smiles, may they see You.
In the Joyful Name of Jesus, we pray,