Gal. 5:22 Amplified Bible
“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”
What is joy and what is joy based on? Joy defined is: “A shout, a proclamation that can manifest in singing. Joy is defined as a triumph, cheerful and a calm delight.”
Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Definitions: “G5463, A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off.”
Joy is deeper then happiness. Instead of looking to Jesus, people look for JOY anywhere and everywhere else.
Pretty much everybody wants happiness. In fact, people do what they do for the purpose of “finding happiness.” People work hard to buy possessions that can make them happy. They look for happiness in entertainment, hobbies, sports, passions and various addictions, and even another person.
When you consider that happiness seems to be the main goal, it seems surprising that the Bible doesn’t talk much about happiness. But the Bible says a lot about something that is often confused with happiness. The Bible says a lot about JOY. The kind of JOY the Bible talks about goes much deeper than mere happiness.
Happiness deals with what is happening. Happiness depends on circumstance. In fact, for most people happiness is nothing more than a temporary interruption to boredom. We’ve all heard kids complain, “I’m bored.” That means, “I want some happiness, and I’m NOT finding it!”
Genuine joy, on the other hand does not depend on what’s happening. Joy is an inner sense of well-being that has nothing to do with circumstance. Joy is an inside Job.
The kind of JOY the Bible describes can’t be found in possessions or entertainment or even in looking deeply into your inner self.
Happiness vs. Joy
Happiness meets surface needs, But Joy meets your deepest needs.
Happiness is like a thermometer, it registers conditions,
Joy is like a Thermostat, it regulates conditions.
Now happiness many times evaporates in suffering,
But Joy frequently intensifies in times of suffering.
Let me give you an example:
Turn with me to James 1:2
James 1:2 NKJV
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
In other words, when you are in trouble, don’t start crying when things happen, in stead count it as Joy.
The word translated “various” is the Greek word on which our word “polka dot” is based.
It means variegated or diversified. If you look at a dress or garment with lots of polka dots on it, it can be a reminder that we will experience many trials.
Joy is not the natural response to Trouble. How many of you jump and scream with excitement when trouble comes a-knockin’?
Let me tell you something, Trials are meaningless, suffering is senseless and trials are pointless, unless there is some good purpose for them.
God has a goal in mind. God knows what the good purpose is.
Suffering is inevitable. He does not say, “Count it all joy, my brethren, IF you fall into trials,” he says, “Count it all joy WHEN you fall into trials.
What does that mean?
~ It means Trials are not optional.
~ Suffering is a normal part of the process God uses to bring us to glory.
~We are to rule over the trial and not allow the trial to rule over us.
The word “count” in the Greek means: “to lead, that is, command (with official authority); figuratively to deem, that is, consider: – account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think.”
Far too often we allow the trial to rule over us and it defeats us. We are to count, rule over with authority, any trial that comes our way because we know:
James 1:3 – 4 Amplified Bible
“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. [with no defects], lacking in nothing.”
God wants to produce patience (fruit of the spirit) and endurance in us. Don’t be a wimp and crumble under trials. Trials will come. But rule over it with joy knowing God is with you and has the answers when we ask for His wisdom.
James 1:5 Amplified Bible
“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”
This is how we are to respond in trials. Seek God for wisdom.
Often times we do quit the opposite. We try to acquire our happiness in false joy and end up giving up.
1. Acquiring “things.”
I can have things and enjoy them, but if I don’t have them, I can still enjoy my life. We can desire things, but don’t lust after them. You can have things, but don’t allow things to have you. Lust steals your joy.
Hold everything loosely. Be a steward, not an owner. This is why giving our tithes and offerings are so important. If you can’t give it, then it has got you. That is why God will ask you to give up things that don’t make sense to you.
READ: 1 Tim. 6:6 – 12
When we were born, we brought nothing into this world, and we can’t take anything out when we die.
My husband’s uncle passed away a few weeks ago. Ron and his brother and Mom and Dad went down to California to see after all the affairs and belongings his uncle had. His uncle had a passion for Nascar racing and throughout the years collected a huge miniature car collection. They lived in a double wide trailer and under the trailer was packed with this collection. They loaded a 20 foot U-Haul truck full of this collection and brought it up to Spokane to sale. It is amazing how we collect things, which brings us temporary happiness at the time, and end up not being able to take any of it with us when we die.
Things will not bring joy, it only brings momentary happiness at the time you purchase it and own it. I know of people who spend their time shopping and acquiring things to fill the void of not having joy.
Some people constantly are consumed with money. They want to get it, save it, or as soon as they get it, they want to spend it.
1 Timothy 6:10 NLT
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
Any addiction other then God will only bring you false joy. It is temporary and will never last.
God loves to bless His kids, but if you have to have it to be happy, it is wrong.
If you can’t get happy in the valley, you won’t be happy on the mountain top. We say things like… “If this would happen I would be happy!” or “If I had this it would make my life happy.” This is all false Joy. Again, things and possessions are temporary. God, and who He is in our life is permanent.
Your joy shouldn’t be based on your surroundings. Our environment changes constantly. One day we have a job, and the next, it is taken from us. One day you have a beautiful home, and the next a tornado took it away. Our surroundings do not determine our true joy.
Isaiah 54:10 NASB
“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.”
Mountains have been shaken and removed, but the promises of God never were broken by any event.
We should be able to give it up and still be happy. Love God and enjoy things and your surroundings, but don’ ever let them get ahead of God.
Matthew Henry Commentary: “Creature-confidences shall fail; but when our friends fail us, our God does not.”
Basing your joy on people and what they do for you, or who they are in your life is false security. It is a false sense of happiness. It is not their job to keep you happy or content. We don’t want to be dependent on people but on God.
If we put all our hope in people, or a certain person, we will be disappointed. People will let us down. People are not perfect.
2 Timothy 4:16 – 17 ESV
“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”
If we feel we can’t live without a certain person, we have our dependence on them instead of God.
Emotional or Co-Dependency towards an individual is a trap. Yes, people are God’s gift to us, but not to the point they take the place of God in our lives. What I mean is if they are the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night, chances are you are emotionally dependent on them. If you feel like you can’t breathe if you don’t talk to them, you are emotional dependent. Relationships should be healthy.
It is easy to place a person above God. After all they are there in the flesh. But we have to be careful, especially if you are a person who emotionally gets attached to people quickly. God wants that place.
It is time to get happy. It is time to walk in God’s joy He has already given you. Allow this fruit to develop in your life. Don’t prematurely pick this fruit thinking it is ripe. We do this by basing our happiness on people, places, and things.
WHAT BRINGS TRUE JOY?
Receiving the salvation God, provided through His Son Jesus Christ, changes our lives forever. We don’t have to spend eternity in Hell where there is torment and constant burning of our flesh. We are free from any bondage sin had on us to live in this world with freedom and joy. We are never alone because God is always with us. We are His. All this should bring joy.
Psalm 51:10 – 12 NKJV
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away form Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
Jesus rescued us. No matter what happens in this world, and in our life, we know who we are and where we will spend eternity after we die. We have a reason to get up in the morning because we are valuable and purchased with a great price. We are saved. Salvation is a precious gift that we should cherish every moment of our life. This brings a joy that no one can take away from us. Joy to the world the Lord has come!
2. A grateful heart
A grateful heart leads to a place of contentment and joy.
Proverbs 15:13 Amplified Bible
“A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.”
Proverbs 15:15 Amplified Bible
“All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].”
Proverbs 17:22 Amplified Bible
“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
We have a choice to be thankful, which gives us a happy heart, or to choose to complain and be ungrateful. Having a grateful heart brings life and joy. Looking at all the bad instead of the good in your life will bring stress, torment, and weariness.
This may sound very simple and even childish, yet most people tend to look at the negative or bad instead of the positive or good in their life. God is good and He has done great things in all of us. Choose to set yourself free with joy and enjoy your life and what God has done for you.
3. Trusting in God
We can trust God with every part of our life. He will show us the right direction we need to take. He will help us and give us wisdom for our everyday life.
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right and are pleasures forevermore.”
This verse sums up. God will show us the right direction we are to take in life. He will be with us constantly, literally face to face. One encounter with God changes our lives forever. But in this case, we are with Him face to face on earth. We are His children and we can come boldly to Him like a child would their parent. No rejection. No fear.
The greatest part of this verse is, “in His presence is fullness of joy.” Not lacking anything. “It is totally full. Not partial joy; not imperfect joy; not joy intermingled with pain and sorrow; not joy which, though in itself real, does not satisfy the desires of the soul, as is the case with much of the happiness which we experience in this life – but joy, full, satisfying, unclouded, un-mingled with anything that would diminish its fulness or its brightness; joy that will not be diminished, as all earthly joys must be, by the feeling that it must soon come to an end.” (Albert Barnes notes on the Bible)
Acknowledging God and knowing He is with us and His presence is there makes us trust Him more and more. It empowers us to live our lives in boldness. It brings such a calm delight within us to know we are not alone.
Romans 15:13 NIV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Trusting in God fills us with joy and peace. It allows hope to overflow in us and brings such a reassurance that life is good and God is with us. The Holy Spirit fills us with this hope. Wow, what a powerful insight on trusting God!
There are so many verses in the Bible about trusting God and what happens when we do. In the book of Psalms alone you will find over 80 verses on trusting God. Take time to study the Bible on trusting God. It will embed joy deep inside of you that no one or nothing can take away.
Pain, sorrow, trials, and tribulations, are temporary, but Joy is ETERNAL. Happiness is Outside, but Joy is Inside
Allow the fruit of Joy to grow inside of you. Walk in this promise daily. The Joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
Pastor Kris Belfils