What is Joy? “Joy is not gaiety without gloom, but the victory of faith!” (D.M. Edwards)
Genuine joy is found in knowing God’s wisdom and being faithful and obedient to His commandments. In Jesus Christ is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Meditating on God’s Word and reading His Word slowly and thoughtfully to obtain a message from God, especially, to you causes you to be led by the Spirit of God in obedience, which brings joy.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the by the Word of God so that the things seen are not made out of the things which are visible…But without faith it is impossible to please God, for He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Faith is strengthened by being in God’s Word. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). It, also, is strengthened by praising God for who He is and what He has done for us, even in the middle of adversity.
As we all know, life is full of surprises that are not always pleasant. There will be times of blessings, and times of adversities. In the trials of life, we will experience sadness, sorrow, dejection, fear, dread, anxiety, etc. What we do with these emotions will show where our faith lies. In adversity, our faith must rise and overshadow our gloom and fear. Yes, our trails many times do not turn out the way we think they should, but God has a very good reason why they were allowed.
Adversity is a means to clarify our problems and shine light on our necessary priorities of life. Through trials, God is revealing His hand working to guide and direct our every step. In Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 God reveals, “Consider the work of God: For who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other…” Man should consider what God is allowing and doing in his life because God is Sovereign by directing everything under the sun.
First Root of Joy: Allow God to cleanse your inner being by His Word.
God tells us, He “establishes the just and tests their hearts and minds” (Psalm 7:9; compare Jeremiah 11:20a). Ask God to “examine you and prove you; try your mind and heart (Psalm 26:2). How does God cleanse us? By taking heed to His Word (Psalm 119:9; John 15:3). He convicts, comforts, restores, and redeems us when we memorize, meditate, and apply His Word to our life.
In prayer ask God to speak to you through His Word. When we read Scripture many times a certain verse will jump off the page and slap us in the face. When it does, write it down and memorize it. God is going to use this verse in some way in your life, such as giving you guidance, direction, another purpose for living, etc. The verses that we memorize and apply to our life, God will use to cleanse us as we sleep at night (Psalm 16:7).
Second Root of Joy: Ask for and Accept Opportunities to minister to others.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez called on God, to “Bless him indeed, enlarge his territory (spiritual effectiveness), may God’s Hand may be with me, and keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain to others. So, God granted him what he requested.” Ask, seek, and knock” for opportunities to glorify and bring fruit in God’s kingdom (Matthew 7:7; 21:22; John 15:2, 4-5, 8, 16). Not only should we ask for opportunities, but we need to step out in faith when they come. We will experience the blessing of God, IF we follow God’s opportunities by learning and obeying His Word.
Third Root of Joy: Add Personal Righteousness to your Diligent Devotion to God. We express to God that we truly love Him when we desire to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). God means for all of His children to pursue maturity in His Word and deepen their knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to stand firm through the storms of life (Ephesians 1:17-22; 3:16-19).
What are we to add to our faith as we grow stronger in Jesus? In 2 Peter 1:5-8 God gives us this list: “Add to your faith virtue which is the moral energy and power to accomplish actions of excellence toward others; to virtue, add knowledge involves having correct understanding and truthful insight so that we can comprehend and apply His Word; to knowledge, add self-control which consists of allowing God to control us in being self-restrained with our passions and desires; to self-control, add perseverance which is patience, endurance, and the spiritual staying power to do right with energetic hope; to perseverance, add godliness which is living humbly, faithfully, and submissively before God; to godliness, add brotherly kindness which is mutual sacrifice for others; to brotherly kindness, add love which is using our maximum energy to put other’s spiritual profit ahead of our own aspirations in spite of being treated unkindly or with hostility. In other words, we are to give to others and forgive them no matter what way they treat us (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:15-35).
Fourth Root of Joy: Advantages of Praising God aids His child during hardships. Praise brings spiritual health and strength to our mind and body when under pressure. It reminds us of what a mighty God we serve and through this, our faith is increased. It, also, brings deliverance by putting a new song in our mouth even praise to our God. Our circumstances may not change, but our attitude toward our circumstances will change. Just like Paul and Silas as they sang praise to God while in chains and stocks in prison, deliverance was brought to them even in a painful situation (Acts 16:25-26). The Lord will give us deliverance and freedom even in the most severe trial through our mouth praising God for all His goodness to us in the past. Great joy in our heart will be its fruit, not because of the circumstances, but in what a wonderful, loving, and caring God we have.
Fifth Root of Joy: Adversity has a plan that leads to forgiveness. Adversity shows us how we are not able to save ourselves. It allows us to see our need clearly so that we will turn to God and His wisdom and power for answers.
One of the major sins in this world today, even among Christians, is the lack of forgiveness. When we are not willing to forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:12, 14-15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25). Through adversity and sorrow, we will experience the full beauty of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the tap root leading to joy. Because we are forgiven by Christ, we should be willing to forgive others (Colossians 3:13). Since we all are guilty of selfishness, there is not anyone that can claim righteousness, except for Jesus. He willingly gave His perfect life up to take our sin on Himself so that we may go free. Forgiveness was given to us by God judging Himself instead of judging one of us since we were guilty. If our Heavenly Father was willing to give up His righteous Son to be made sin for us, how much more should we forgive others that have hurt us in the past. Life is too short not to forgive. (Ephesians 4:32)
True joy comes from leaving our selfishness behind and allowing God to take control of our life.