Hi, everyone! Today I’m going to kick off the B. Joyful topic here on B.Well. First, let me ask – what is joy? As defined by the Webster Dictionary, joy is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” So, is joy a feeling? Is it a state that we enter into when a desire has been met? Well, sure, but that is more like what happiness is. When we talk about joy here on B.Well, we’re referring to something that goes a lot deeper.
What is Joy?
Not too long ago, I learned the difference between joy and happiness. Yes, the definitions are different when you have Christ as your focus. See, Joy, as defined through a biblical understanding means that it is a state of confidence, placement, and grounding. It gives us a lasting hope for the future. A Christian can find happiness in a new marriage, baby or car, just like any other person in the world can. But, like all happiness, it fades away, leaving us back where we started. Joy, on the other hand, is what fills a Christian’s life with a lasting feeling of self-assurance and confidence. By confidence, I don’t mean arrogant confidence, but a simple “knowing” kind of confidence that comes from a relationship with God. Because we are in Christ, we can have the gift of joy with us all the time.
Even in the hard times?
I can tell you right now I was still full of joy when my Dad lost his job a couple years ago. I was still full of joy when I went through my disastrous breakup. Joy never left me. It was always present in my heart, but that doesn’t mean I knew of its existence. All I could feel was a lack of happiness, and that felt miserable. But, looking back, I know I had joy every single day of hardship. The real joy was present because I believed with all my heart in the forgiveness of Christ. He has promised to love me every day of my life, no matter how far I fall. For every Christian, this simple truth is the glorious light that brings us through the hard times.
How did I find Joy?
By obeying God’s commandments. This is the hard part. We lose sight of joy when we sin. Many times during my recovery from my breakup, and especially during my sister’s relationship, I turned my back on being obedient and trusting in the Lord by harboring envy, selfishness, and pride. What I was doing was suppressing the Gift that God had so lovingly given me to use. Because I clung to my emotions and didn’t cheerfully obey the Lord while walking through my trial, I actually lost the most important thing we as Christians have in life – joy.
B. Joyful Everyday
If there is one thing I am challenging myself to do these days, it is to exhibit joy every day of my life, even if I don’t “feel” happy. Do you know what I’ve found? When I obey in righteousness first, the feelings of love follow. It doesn’t feel great. In fact, sometimes it feels lame. But that is the beauty in all of this. When we desire to be like Christ, we are ultimately going to give up everything our sin cries out for. We are going to feel humility, weakness, and inadequacy. But that is where He comes in and fills all the cracks. After a while, we will notice His presence in everything we see, and we will begin to feel joy in every single circumstance.
I am striving to love my family and friends in a new way that reflects the love of Christ because I desire for my joy to be full! This requires consistency in training myself to be joyful. I know I can do it, but only because He is doing it in me. Though I may never perfect this exhibition of joy, that really isn’t the point. The point is, no matter what, I am going to do it because Christ commands it of me. After all, He made the first move; He laid down His life for my wretched one so I could live with Him in full joy and glory when I die.
What are your thoughts on Joy?
Love in Christ,
By the Way...
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