Galatians 5:22, 23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
“What brings you joy?”
Have you ever been asked this question? What answer did you give? It is interesting to see the answers people give when asked this question. The answers are as different as there are people. Some people may say their families bring them joy while others may mention particular accomplishments as the source of their joy.
Before we go any further I would like to ask you this. Do you know the difference between joy and happiness? I ask you this because these two words are often interchanged with one another so for sake of clarity on our topic today I want us to first of all address happiness in comparison to joy.
I like how one dictionary defines joy, “The feeling of great happiness”. The truth of the matter is that joy and happiness do share some similar characteristics; for instance both happiness and joy give us a feeling of well being and they both come when things are going well. However as the definition we saw earlier states happiness is just a small part of joy so joy is far greater than happiness. So now that we know that joy and happiness are not exactly the same thing let us now look at what joy is.
Joy only comes and remains through trust in God…
The bible would often describe joy as ‘the joy of the Lord’ and this is because joy comes from God. God introduced us to His Joy when He sent Jesus into the world. Joy also remains through our continued trust in God because it is one thing to have joy and it is another to remain in this joy as time goes on. The only way you can remain strong in joy is by continuing to put your trust in God. No wonder the bible calls the joy of the Lord our strength. In circumstances when everyone else is running helter skelter you are able to stand because you have trust in God. At this point I believe it is important to note that even though joy remains when things are rough, joy is not the same thing as apathy. Joy is not pretending that everything is alright and slapping on a fake smile. Joy is not about burying your head in the sand pretending that everything is going wonderful when it clearly isn’t. Rather Joy is supernatural strength when you should be weak or perturbed.
Joy, are you full of it?
Have you ever wondered what the bible means when it says that your joy will be full or complete? We know that as we receive the Holy Spirit and submit to Him we produce joy as one of our fruit however it is also possible to lose this joy over time. Why? When our joy is not yet full we can easily get depleted after sometime. I am sure you may have experienced situations where you had joy initially facing some difficulties or trials but as time went on and the situation did not relent your joy also started to wane. We all have and this is why we have to stand strong. The word of God is reinforcement when we start to get discouraged or when we start to doubt. The word of God is assurance when we start to shake. The word of God makes our joy full. Jesus said “these things I have spoken to you that my joy might remain in you and your joy might be full…” He knows that the initial joy we feel can get tested if we don’t reinforce our hope with the word of God.
Joy helps you to endure…
When you remain joyful or full of joy through periods of testing you are able to endure to the end. It will be very difficult to hold on to hope and to persevere if you are not feeling joy. Imagine feeling pressure from all sides and trying to endure without joy. That is an impossible feat for most people.
Joy is impossible in the flesh…
You cannot have the joy of God by your strength. If you try to you will only end up suppressing pain or becoming apathetic altogether and that is not joy. You produce joy or you start to produce joy as a fruit when you place your trust in God by submitting yourself to His Holy Spirit.
So today ask yourself this. Do I have happiness or Joy? Is my Joy getting filled with the word of God? Have I placed hope and trust in God to give me Joy? I pray you let the Holy Spirit produce the Joy of God in you today in Jesus name.
Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your stronghold”
James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance”
Romans 15:13 “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”
Temitope Talabi is a founding member of The Trent Voices currently reside in Austin, TX. She graduated with a PharmD from Texas Southern University in Houston, TX. She works as a community pharmacist and spends her spare time writing to build and encourage others through the word of God. Temitope is also currently working on a series of self-help books created to empower people to take charge of their health and wellness, the first of which is scheduled to be released early next year.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.