Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances. Joy is dependent upon our character.
The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines joy as “ a delight in life that runs deeper than pain or pleasure. From a Biblical perspective it is not limited by nor tied solely to external circumstances. Joy is a gift of God, and like all of His other inner gifts it can be experienced even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.”
Okay, so that’s not going to sell in most of your Christian bookstores across America today. Not going to find that on a plaque in most American homes today. In fact that definition runs counter to the Gospel of Your Best Life Now preached from the NTFV (New Touchy-Feely Version) Bible.
Nevertheless, joy can be experienced in the midst of the most horrific moments in life. Last Saturday I gave my testimony right before an Upward basketball game at my church. And the main point I felt the Lord press upon my heart as I prayed what He wanted me to share was that joy is possible in all circumstances, especially during an untimely death such as my son’s. I love what the Prophet Habakkuk writes of joy, whether it be poverty, famine, or death, we can still experience the Lord’s joy:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Beloved, do you know what kind of freedom there is wrapped up in such a joy? Do you realize that although times may get difficult and you may experience great persecution just for believing in Jesus, we can rejoice in the midst of such trials? Jesus said so:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
“…for great is your reward in heaven.” Did you see that? Those are Jesus’ words. That is a promise from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. So how should we apply this wonderful truth to our everyday, workaday lives? When things seem to be falling apart all around you, look up! Remember that if you are facing trials and tribulations, if you are trying to fight the good fight in the halls of Congress, at city hall, or on the city streets, do it all as unto the Lord. And don’t worry if it seems the rats are winning the rat race. They’re rats and they will get their just reward!
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” (Colossians 3:23-25)
Dear readers, let each one of us purpose in our hearts to live purposefully joyful lives. The Lord has placed it on my heart to write about joy and so I covet your prayers asking for the Holy Spirit to give me clarity that all I write is sacred, sound, and sensible. And let each one of us purpose in our hearts to pray for one another to receive, and more importantly, share the messages I pray the Lord will deliver to me.
This world needs a large and continuous dose of joy. And that joy is found only in the life of Jesus Christ.
Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?
Does He reign over you life, or do you only ask Him to rain in your life during times of drought?
That would be a good place to measure the level of joy in your life.
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers