Do you find that seeking joy in your life is sometimes difficult and, at times, seems impossible to achieve? Life can feel like a rollercoaster with the ups, downs, twists, and turns. We all encounter challenges in our lives. Seeking joy has to be intentional. It is not something that happens naturally.
According to the world’s point of view, joy is “a feeling of great happiness” and the “success in doing, finding, or getting something” (Merriam-Webster.com). The world defines joy as “great happiness.” Joy and happiness are two very different emotions that need to be understood from the Christian point of view. As Christians, God defines joy differently. The definition of joy in Biblical terms is a “state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness.” (www.theopedia.com/Joy).
Joy is not an emotion but a choice. We choose to have joy, no matter the circumstance. Happiness is an emotion that puts us on a rollercoaster mentality that creates ups and downs in our lives. “Joy isn’t just a smile or a laugh. Joy is something that is deep within and doesn’t leave quickly” (www.theopeida.com/joy). Joy does not waver but stands firm when we face difficult situations.
In the Book of James, chapter one, verses 2 through 3, it says to “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.” How many times do we find ourselves not enjoying life? It could be from complacency in our careers, relationships, family, and so forth. How do we react when life is not going our way? Do we complain about our situations? Do we make ourselves and those around us miserable?
When we have no joy, the words we say are negative and our actions are not reflecting Christ-like mannerisms. Jesus brought hope and faith into the world. During the Christmas holidays, we sing a song called, “Joy to the World.” The song lyrics are “Joy to the World! The Lord has come.” The Lord is joy!
The word joy “appears 88 times in the Old Testament in 22 books; 57 times in the New Testament in 18 books” (www.theopida.com/Joy). Jesus lived by the fruit of the Spirit. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. If Jesus is joy and He speaks on joy throughout the Bible, then it is important to seek joy in our lives. God wants us to experience joy. He does not want us to trudge through life defeated and depressed. He wants us to live life to the fullest! The Lord says to “rejoice in [Him] always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Are you seeking joy in your life? What are some areas that you need to work on to find joy rather than seek happiness in? Do you seek the Lord’s joy when life is not going your way or do you seek temporary happiness to fill the void?
I encourage you to spend some time with God and reflect on the questions above. Write down what God is telling you through prayer. Write down Scripture that will encourage you to seek God’s joy over your life.