I want to be one of those Christian women – I bet you know one – who seems joyful all of the time. Not the ones that fake being happy so people will think they are doing fine, but the ones that are truly at peace no matter what is going on in their lives. I’m not one of them yet but I want to be.
There is a difference between being happy and being full of the joy of the Lord. Happiness depends on circumstances. It’s based on feelings. It’s easy to be happy when things are going well, but when my life doesn’t measure up to my current expectations, I’m not usually very happy about it.
What I want is real joy. It’s not an emotion that has to be stirred up at a pep rally type of worship service. And I don’t want to have to grit my teeth and say to myself (and others) “My life stinks right now but I’m choosing JOY by golly”.
The authentic joy that is found in Christ is unwavering hope and peace regardless of circumstances. So how can I learn to be joyful regardless of my situation?
I experience true joy when I spend time in God’s presence. The more time I spend in quiet aloneness with God, reading the Bible and sharing my struggles and sorrows with Him, the more joy I will have.
‘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
My joy is made full when I sense God is with me and let Him fill me with His joy. God’s joy can be fully mine when my focus is on Him instead of myself and my situation.
‘These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. ‘ John 15:11 NASB
Don’t allow anything to come between you and your relationship with God. David was weighed down with sorrow and regret for his sins, but he confessed to God and prayed for his relationship with the Lord to be restored and his joy to return.
‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ‘Psalm 51:12
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. The more I walk by the power of the Holy Spirit even in devastating times, the more I will experience joy. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside of me and is there as my helper.
‘For you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.’ 1 Thessalonians 1:6 NIV
Whatever struggles I am facing, I know that God is in control of my life. And the more I trust God to care for me, the more I can rest from worry, and joy will be a natural result.
‘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 NIV
Ok. I think I have a better idea about those women who are full of joy. Maybe it doesn’t come from a decision they make to be joyful. It comes from a decision they make to stay in close relationship to the Father and trust Him to fill them with JOY.
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