1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Joy. Such a tiny little word. Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even when you are 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.
Paul tells us that joy is one of the fruits of spirit in Galatians 5:22. Sadly, the world’s joy cannot last because it is based on fleeting, physical circumstances. But the joy of the Lord is established in our spiritual, eternal circumstances. As we cling tight to Jesus, abiding daily in our saving relationship with Him, we will experience the fullness of joy He promised.
Psalm 28:7 says The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 16:11 says You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
PSALM 94:19 says When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says to Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.
So how can we always be full of joy? The first thing is to realize that joy is a gift from God. The root word for joy in the Greek is chara, which is closely related with the Greek charis for “grace.” Joy is both a gift of God as well as a response to the gifts of God. Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace and relish His favor.
- Focus on God – no matter what is going on in your life, focus on God’s will for you during this time. Are you going through it to make you a stronger Christian? Are you in this period of your life as a consequence of sin, yours or someone else? Ask the Lord what He wants you to see. Maybe it isn’t you who needs to see Him at work but someone else in your life.
- Talk about God’s goodness ALL the time: Philippines 4:4 says Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! If you get in the habit of saying good things about the Lord every day, when tough times come it will not seem so bad. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
- Submit yourself moment by moment to the Spirit’s control – If we are thinking about God and allowing the Spirit to control our words and actions then we will make right decisions and with those right decisions comes God’s blessings. We are always in the Lord and the Lord is always in us, and that is always a reason for joy. He never leaves us nor forsakes us so we can rejoice always.
Philippians 4:4-9 First, choose to rejoice in God and who He is. Second, bring all your worries, fears, and concerns to God in prayer. Third, fill your mind with God’s truth. And fourth, choose to think about the things of God.
Are you a joyful person? How do remain joyful in all circumstances? Today, choose JOY over happiness.