How would you define joy? Joy is very different from happiness. Let’s look at a Biblical definition of joy. Joy is defined as the happy state that results from knowing and serving God. The words joy, joyous, and rejoicing are found over 200 times in the Bible. How can we choose joy? I have to share a funny story with you. I had been convicted that I purposely need to choose joy in any and all situations. I can choose to rejoice in who God is and what he has done. So, the very next morning after I decided to choose joy, my son comes in my room and says I threw up last night in my bed and didn’t know it. I go to his room and the throw up is not just in his bed, but in a huge pile on the floor. Absolutely disgusting! Now you may ask how my son could sleep through throwing up, I have no idea. I think a tornado could strike our house and he would still be sleeping. So, as I’m cleaning this up and trying not to throw up myself, I keep saying to myself I choose joy and this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. My kids looked at me like I was nuts and I began laughing. Once committed to choosing joy, God gave me a good test to see if I was serious. This story isn’t about me or my son, but allowing God to be actively involved in every area of our lives. Let’s look at some interesting scripture about joy.
Read Psalm 118:22-24.
Since I was a young child, I have sung the chorus, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Absolutely, love the song to this day.
I never really understood the origins of the song. If you look at v. 22 – the stone the builders rejected become the capstone. This is referring to Jesus and his death. Jesus is the cornerstone and he was being rejected. Now, the very next verse is about rejoicing about the day. Do you realize my sister in Christ that the rejoicing is about the day Christ will be crucified? When I discovered the true meaning of this verse, it totally changed my perspective on the verse and song.
How have you understood this verse in the past?
How does your perspective change when you hear the context of the
verse and how it deals with Christ’s crucifixion?
Read John 16:20-22.
There are several things that stand out to me in these verses. One is that before the disciples great joy there was grief and sorrow. Sometimes we have to experience grief to know true joy. Not always, but the joy is sometimes sweeter.
Secondly, we can relate to the pangs of childbirth and the joy of seeing your child being born. We know that a difficult childbirth is worth it when you see your precious child. Also, if you have adopted a child, you know the difficulty of waiting to make sure the adoption is final and the whole process can be difficult.
Thirdly, verse 22 spoke volumes to me. No one will take away your joy. What do you think that means? Joy comes from God and our walk with him. Once, we have asked Jesus into our heart our joy comes from our salvation and forgiveness of sins. No one can take away the joy of our salvation.
Even though the Bible says no one can take away our joy. Is someone
or something stealing your joy?
If so, how can you reclaim your joy?
If you are willing to share, has there been a deep sorrow in your life
that has made the joy that much sweeter?
Joy is not happiness. Happiness to me is a momentary feeling. I felt happy when I had a good day or a good time with my family, etc. Joy is much more deep and abiding. You can have joy even in the darkest moments. I would say it is similar to peace. One commentary I read said, “Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord.”
I entitled this lesson, “I Choose Joy”. Sometimes joy has to be a willful commitment or choice. Lord, I’m choosing to rejoice in you, because of what you done. Joy is an act of praise. When we think of all the things God has done for us, how can we not rejoice!! Praising God is the best antidote for depression and anxiety. When we recount our blessings we experience a renewing of our faith and trust in whom God is and what he has done.
One final verse to look up, Philippians 4:4.
If you notice this verse does not say sometimes or when you feel like it. Another commentary I read stated this, “The joy of Christian is not based on agreeable
circumstances, instead it is based on their relationship to God.” I can rejoice, because of who God is, not who I am or what is going on in my life.
What area in your life right now could you choose to rejoice in?
How would you define the difference between happiness and joy? Which
do you want in your life?
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Can I encourage all of us to choose joy, not because of who we are, but because of the God we serve.