Definitions of the word joy: 1) the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or the prospect of possessing what one desires; the expression or exhibition of such emotion 2) a state of happiness or felicity; 3) a source or cause of delight
Joy is another wonderful word we find in the Bible and it is used in several different contexts. But generally speaking it can be summed up as “the happy state that results from knowing God and serving Him”. The word joy appears somewhere between 150 and 200 times in the Bible depending on the translation a person uses. The Old Testament is full of passages that contain the word or refers to it by using words that are closely related. Both David and Solomon used the word countless times in their writings along with some of the Old Testament prophets. Nehemiah told the Israelites in chapter 8, verse 10 not to worry, because “the joy of the Lord is our strength” and therefore encouraged the people. David declares one of his most famous statements in the Psalms in chapter 30, verse 5 when he says “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning”. We could share many scriptures where the word joy is used but it would take many pages and more time than I can spare. So let’s look at the word in a more personal way.
Where does joy come from? Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 2:26 “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight.” So, it is obvious that it comes from God. But how can we be good in His sight? The answer to that question has alluded man for centuries and many have tried and failed to provide an acceptable answer. But the truth is there is only one answer. And that is it can only be found by trusting in Jesus and what He did on the cross. His imputed righteousness on us is the only thing that makes us good in God’s eyes. Question answered for all time and eternity.
Joy is something that is planted deep within us and is not something that departs quickly or easily. Just like I have read elsewhere, when we have the joy of the Lord we will know it and those around us will also know we have it. It will show in everything we do and in much of what we say. We should continuously be looking for reasons to be joyful. As a matter of fact we need to remember that joy is also a fruit of the spirit and as the Holy Spirit directs our lives he will make evident the things that bring joy to our lives. However, if we are not abiding in God’s word, talking to Him on a daily basis, fellowshipping with other believers and not trusting Him to provide what we need we will get caught up in this world’s way of living and possibly lose our joy. Just like peace, we need to cherish the joy we have in Him and be forever thankful for both. May we all be able to sing the old song:
I have joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.
I have that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.