The word “Joy” has always fascinated me. It’s so rich and larger than life. Paul’s book of Philippians drips with it, as honey from a comb, yet it was written while he was in a Roman prison cell. Peter speaks of glorious, inexpressible joy, when referring to the salvation of our souls, despite the earthly trials that come our way.
From a Biblical stand point, joy has a captivating sweetness about it which seems to transcend our worldly experience. How else could prison and trials be associated with joy? Yet joy can be elusive?
Joy is one of the qualities of the Spirit of God, but how is it expressed in our earthly experience?
When I think of times I have experienced what I would call joy, I feel as if my soul has been lifted up, far above the cares of this world. The problems and concerns don’t go away, but they seem no larger than specs of dust beneath my feet.
During these moments, I’m overwhelmed with gladness and gratitude. I’m filled with a desire to be with God, to see Jesus. For brief moments, I seem to be looking at life through eternity, seeing only what really matters. For me, joy is more than just a feeling, it’s a perspective, an eternal viewpoint, flowing from the nearness of God.
But alas, what I am recognizing as joy, can be rare in my life. I have learned many ways to kill it:
When I dwell too intently on the problem at hand, fretting, as I tackle life’s problems in my own strength, I have not joy.
When I become overwhelmed with busyness, embracing the tasks, without setting priorities and doing what’s really important, I have not joy.
When I’m overcome with the heartbreaks of life and lose sight of the fact that God’s nearness is my good, I have not joy.
When I am fooled into thinking the world will satisfy my inner longings, I have not joy.
When I hold onto an offense and let anger and resentment fester, I have not joy.
Making heavenly choices in the midst of a physical world can be hard. However, when I realize the mystery of Christ in me is more than just an idea, and yield to his strength, he empowers my walk.
Where is my joy? God freely gives it in His Indwelling Presence. God Himself is fullness of joy. Joy is readily available to me, but I must continue to answer one burning question.
Do I choose to live for me or do I choose to live for my Lord? This is not just a one-time decision, but one that must be made over and over again each moment of every day. When I choose rightly, joy awaits me.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Hebrews 9:1
 I Peter 1:8
 Psalm 16:11b