Joy, it’s such a familiar part of the Christian life. We sing about the joy we have in serving Jesus. We talk about the joy that sustains us in troubling times; and we are eager to share the joy we have with others.
But what do you do when you can’t seem to find one stick of joy in your life? What do you do when you are so numb with discouragement that you can’t remember the feel of joy? How do you know if any small ray of joy in your life is genuine or that it will last?
The therapists of our day really have no answers for these questions. It is only the Word of God that can speak to these issues of heart. The joy that we ultimately hunger for is described in the Bible with opulent terms. Peter tells us that it is inexpressible and glorious (1 Pt 1:8-9). Paul classifies it as absolute, out-and-out, downright complete joy (Rom 15:13).
The joy we want is ultimately a gift of God. It is a fruit of the Spirit given to us by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22; 1 Thes 1:6). This gift of joy is sourced in the God of hope who fills us with all joy and peace (Acts 14:13; Rom 15:13).
But how? How does this most desired opulent gift get from God himself to us? How do we appropriate it? How do we preserve its wonderful affects in our lives through all the troubles of life?
It is ours by faith in Christ. We don’t work for it. We certainly don’t deserve it. We simply enjoy it by faith in Christ. Genuine, abiding joy is not circumstantial nor is it financial. Joy is Christ; Christ is joy!
The ebb and flow of life can only offer us seasons of joy. But the Triune God on the other hand, the God of hope will fill you with joy and peace when you trust in Him (Rom 15:13). It is very simple, our God is not only the giver of joy; He is the filler of joy.
The joy we are given and the joy that fills us is the joy that overflows to others (2 Cor 2:3; Phil 1:6); it is the joy that trouble cannot confine (2 Cor 7:4), and it is the joy that followed Christ to the cross (Heb 12:2).
Although this truth about joy is so simple, it makes no human sense. Think about how Peter tries to describe it (1 Pt 1:8-9). Though you have not seen him (Christ) you love him. Though you do not see him (Christ) now, you believe in him
The outcome of such a spirited expression of trust in Christ is that you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy and that you receive the goal of your faith — the salvation of your souls.
Do you see it? True, abiding joy is Christ. So, in all the pursuits of life the most important focus is believing Jesus. You don’t need any academic degree to have this joy; you don’t need to meet a certain economic requirement; nor do you need to live in a certain part of the world; all you need is a gutsy believing heart that says, give me Jesus.