Joy is a fruit of the spirit. It can’t be faked, and it is not dependent on the circumstances you face.
It has to be cultivated, and it is bore out of an intimate relationship with Christ.
Interestingly, James urged us to receive and face battles, challenges and issues in life with what seems to be an irrational and unconventional approach.
AMP, James 1:2-4
“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.”
“Consider it pure joy”, James exhorted.
And yet, this is hardly the normal response for the average person. In fact, one tends to run away from problems.
Trials are unsavoury and not to be desired.
So how can we live our lives such that our response at every juncture is one that signs off as JOY?
I am referring to the full extent of joy – Not pretend joy, but pure joy and only joy.
I thought of David.
He did not have to face Goliath, but he chose to do it and he went passionately for it.
I imagine him smiling and joking to King Saul about the heavy armour suit being put on him.
He sees challenges, trials and tests as opportunities to use His gifts, to magnify God and to display God’s faithfulness and greatness!
We see a giant, but David saw an opportunity to draw strength from the joy of the LORD.
I want to share 3 postures that will help you in this journey, especially in a season such as this.
Learn to be grateful that all things happen for a purpose, are in the purview of God, under His sovereignty, in His plans, under His covering and that all things will be made for the good of those who love God.
Thanksgiving is a posture and the will of God for us as written in Ephesians 5:20,
“always giving thanks to God the Father for everything”.
God is always in the know and He wants us to go through certain things so that our faith is tested, our characters are changed and our lives are transformed to be ready for the tasks He is going to entrust to us now and in eternity.
When we are thankful, we appreciate what the Father gives and plans for us, and his timing and heart for us. In doing so, we experience joy and that joy becomes our strength to overcome!
There is always a joy that comes with anticipating an awaited promotion, event or occasion.
It is similar to the welcoming of a new born baby.
To be able to approach a challenge or trial with this posture, one needs to have walked and journeyed with God, embracing His heart for your life, knowing God’s character and His love for you.
Our future is ambiguous and unknown and at times mysterious, but to have the security of being in a loving relationship with the creator and abba Father, one can truly enjoy the journey through both good and bad times.
In other words, we might not know what tomorrow brings, but more importantly, we know the One who knows.
It is like how we can embrace the Blessed Hope and eagerly await His return to receive us as His bride.
We can be in joy of anticipation of what is to come and still have joy that becomes our strength to move forward.
Joyfulness can be found in celebrations, and usually that encompasses others in the picture.
We share our joy with a community of loved ones, spiritual families and close friends.
Thus, in our journey, never walk alone.
Seek mentors and spiritual leaders, and be connected to a faith believing and like-minded group.
Go through life supporting each other in togetherness.
AMP, Hebrews 12:2
“who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work],”
Jesus celebrated in his heart in advance leading to his crucifixion, to know that there will be reconciliation of lives to the Father and the victory of the enemy because of his death.
Jesus celebrated in advance for there will be celebration of salvations together with the angels and thus this same joy can be reflected in our lives knowing what God has prepared in advance for each and every one of our lives.
When we can celebrate in advance, believing that each trial can help us reach our destinies or become more mature in Christ, then we can also have joy like Jesus to finish the race God has marked and prepared for us.
To be able to run with joy is both an intentional posture and privilege.
To have joy consistently in our lives is a fruit of a believer that can reflect a closely knitted relationship with God the Father.
Prayer and Reflection:
- How joyful are you running right now in this season that God has put you in?
- Which one do you need to work on: Appreciation? Anticipation? Or Celebration?
Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and work in and through you.
- Make a commitment to put on JOY in your every day life and ask God to work in you to bear that fruit.