Joy is something that’s so often misunderstood (but the world is slowly beginning to see).
When we hear the word joy, what do we think of? Bright, happy faces? Laughter? Sunny skies, a light breeze, and no cloud in sight? In other words, is our expectation of joy linked to circumstance? Is it based on happiness? Is it something external?
Here’s an easy test for our joy: when things start to go wrong, what’s our response?
When life hands us lemons, the Bible teaches us that it’s actually a cause for rejoicing.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
Joy as a Choice
Hear me out on this: every day, we have the power to choose joy. WE HAVE THE POWER to choose joy.
As someone who has lived with depression, I know that statement may seem offensive. If you struggle with depression, like so many do, I’m not saying what you’re feeling isn’t debilitating. I’m not saying you want to feel that way. I know it doesn’t seem like there’s another option or that anything is within your control.
But it is.
And that’s not my way of brushing off what you’re going through. It’s the truth, and it empowers.
For so long I was deceived into believing that my reality was controlled by depression. That I HAD to submit to the dark thoughts, deep pit of despair, and waves of complete numbness. But every single bit of it was a lie.
We don’t have to live in bondage to heartache.
We don’t have to be squashed by the weight of depression.
WE have the choice.
Because EVERYTHING bows to the name of Jesus.
How to Have Joy in the Midst of Trouble
As we read the opening statement of that passage, we may ask ourselves how we can even begin to develop the ability to smile in the face of trouble, let alone rejoice in it! The verses that precede the above passage hold a key:
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.”
Romans 5:1-2 (NLT, emphasis mine)
Our joy wells up from within when we’re confident and secure in what Jesus did. From this faith, we are assured that we have peace with God. When we understand this on the heart level, we have hope in every situation, knowing that God can turn even the worst of situations into victories for our good and His glory.
Where do We Get This Faith?
Don’t have that solid faith that produces joy in the hard times? He can do that for us too. As Hebrews tells us, He is the author and perfecter of faith. He’ll teach us how to live our everyday lives trusting in what He says. As He proves Himself to us over and over again, we begin to see joy appearing in our lives as a fruit of His Spirit.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
The key to so many kingdom principles is belief. Believe that He can do what you can’t, and you will give every situation in your life to Him. You’ll stop striving to accomplish things that you were never meant to accomplish on your own. He is the source of every good and perfect thing and will give them all to you freely because you are His beloved child.
Joy as a Gift
Are you a mom like me? If so, think of how much you love to give your children gifts–to see that spark light up their eyes and the smile spread across their faces. God takes delight in giving His children gifts too, and the ability to see a storm brewing and be calmed by joy is most definitely a gift. But it’s up to us to receive it. Ask Him. Listen for His voice with hope–the confident expectation of good. As Romans 5:5 says above, our hope won’t lead to disappointment. We can rest in the assurance that when we seek His truth, He’ll reveal it to us. And we’ll be able to find joy in every day.
Until next time,
New here? This page will help you get started!
Sharing is caring! Like this post from Planting Vineyards? Pass it along by using the social media share buttons below.