This is February the second month of the year and the second month for our Fruit of the Spirit Study. I am so excited to be adding another fruit to our fruit bowl.
This month we will be adding joy to our fruit bowl. We have love and joy in our bowl so far. When I began to study joy I went to my Concordance in the back of my Bible and to my surprise I found two columns of scripture for joy. That didn’t even include all of the scripture for the word joyous.
Joy is described in my Thesaurus as happiness, delight, pleasure and enjoyment. We could go on with a long list of words that describe joy. Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. It could be described as exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience like a wedding or graduation but the definition of joy that the world holds is not nearly as amazing as biblical joy but joy is also a gift.(taken from the Christian Crier).
As I began my study I wanted to put into writing what my idea of joy was. If someone asked me to define joy how would I define it? As I reflect back on my life my definition of joy certainly has changed. I would have said joy is a good meal, joy is vacations, joy is my new car and joy is being happy. Joy is not having stress in my life. As I have grown older I find the definition of joy has changed.
We have just watched the Super Bowl. Companies pay millions of dollars to have their product shown during the commercials. What do these companies want us to believe? It’s their job to convince us we do not have joy in our lives if we don’t drive a certain make of car, or we don’t drink the right beverage, or we aren’t the right size or the list goes on. What the world thinks of joy is different from what the Bible says joy is. We also know from the game that the world’s joy is temporary. We see a team winning by several touchdowns assured of a win. We see a team joyously celebrating along the sidelines. We see joy fading as the score tips to the other side and their game has been lost. The world’s joy is often sporadic and not consistent.
One of the first verses I came to when looking up joy was this one found in Romans 14:17, “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat, or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This scripture tells me it is not a matter of what we eat, or drink, or drive, or where we live or how big our house is. It’s about being in the Holy Spirit and experiencing joy; a different kind of joy.
The world is not always honest when it comes to our joy. It will tell us anything to make us believe the world can offer us joy. But in Psalm 32:2, we find this, “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty.” When we come before God and give our lives over to him and he has cleared our sin and the guilt that comes from sin we find the true source of joy in our lives. When we find this kind of joy we are honest about where it comes from; not the world but the Lord.
When we give our lives to Christ we begin to live by Psalm 45:7, “You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than anyone else.” Do you realize you have been anointed from God? When I think of this pouring out of oil on us I think of the woman who poured out expensive perfume on Christ’s feet and anointed him. “Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3 We are often amazed at what this woman did for Christ, but according to this scripture that is what God has done for each of us who have turned to Him. He has graciously poured the oil of joy on us. I have never thought about this much. Can you envision God sitting you down and pouring this oil all over you? Can you feel it as it runs all the way down to your toes? Amazing isn’t it?
When we realize we have been redeemed by the Lord then often times we follow David’s direction in Psalm 71:23, “I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me.” It doesn’t happen often enough for me, but when I suddenly realize what God has done for me, when I realize he died on the cross for me, joy floods my heart and I just want to praise him. Have you ever felt such joy? Psalm 94:4 is similar to this one, “You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.”
The list of joy scripture goes on from here. I think I could spend several days and many pages later with all that God has to say to us about joy. We are just getting started.
To sum up what I have learned today is this: the world offers us joy in material things that don’t last. Once the joy in whatever we thought we needed is gone then we seek joy in another area. It’s only when we seek Jesus, find Him and allow Him to redeem us do we find the joy that is with us constantly. Once we find him we must allow him to pour out His oil of joy on us and begin a new joyous life in Him.
I hope you are journeying with me. I think we are in for a real treat this month. God bless.
Dear Lord, the world wants to offer me joy in the material things that are found in this world. I know the joy I find in those material things doesn’t last. It’s only when I come to you and allow you to redeem and pour out the oil of joy on me that I find true everlasting joy. May I find the joy in you that I often seek in the world Amen.