Understanding and Embracing Joy
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11)
Money may be able to buy happiness, but joy is an entirely different matter. Joy doesn’t come from without; it comes from within.
Joy may be an exuberant, abandoned emotion, like the one David felt and expressed upon bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem. It may be a deep seated feeling of contentment, so exceptionally filled with wonder and awe that it is inexpressible. It is always dependent upon the willingness to abide in God through the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Flowers of Joy
by Diana Rasmussen
There are seeds of joy
Planted in my heart
May not look like much
But this is only the start
They may be buried
Under black dirt and grime
But the Master Gardner
Put them deep inside
They didn’t come from a store
Not from a magazine
They were tears that God cried
Especially for me
Just when I thought
That He hadn’t seen
He planted those seeds
Inside my deepest despair
For every pain suffered
And in spite of abuse
He sowed in darkness
As He dug and He wept
The ground may be dark but
His light brings forth life
As despair cracks open
When new life and joy sprout
Sorrow sowed in the ground
Watered with God’s love
The tears that we cried
Bloom into flowers of JOY!
“You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy…So also you will have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you…Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:20,22,24)
Joy isn’t dependent upon things or circumstances. It is an intrinsic connection that is always there between you and the One who made you. This connection is the Spirit of truth, the one sent from Jesus and the Father to “teach you everything and will remind you of everything” Jesus told you. (John 14:17,26, 15:26)
How else could the apostle Paul have survived severe beatings and living in chains in a Roman jail? Paul thrived because he looked not to his surroundings for joy. He looked to the Lord in Whom he found joy, enabling him to bring joy to his surroundings and circumstances.
There have been so many times I have been tempted to let circumstances steal my joy. I have gone days, weeks, sometimes months in doubt, distrust and depression. Then, something awakens in me. I see a small light. And I remember, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
The Holy Spirit lights the warm and glowing firelight in me. He reminds me of Jesus’ words. It is he who strengthens me to feel the joy arise and push the enemy away.
“Honor and majesty surround the Lord; strength and joy fill His dwelling place.” (1 Chronicles 16:27)
God used to reside in a temple in Jerusalem. Now, since He has placed the Holy Spirit inside us, His dwelling place is within. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead, the same Spirit who lived in the apostles is the same Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:11). You know Him because He lives with you and in you (John 14:17). He has given you unique gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). He prays for you when you can’t (Romans 8:26). He convicts you of sin (John 16:8). He gives you words when you can’t speak on your own (Luke 12:12). He grieves for you (Isaiah 63:10), He reminds you of Jesus’ words (John 14:26).
Call on this same Holy Spirit to guide you back to joy.
“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.” (Romans 15:13)
Flowers of Joy Copyright 2014, Diana Rasmussen.
Diana’s blog is called Prayers and Promises http://www.prayersandpromises.org . Diana is a Music Minister, Freelance Writer, and Advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness and Social Change. Her music has won several awards and focuses on overcoming adversity, breaking free from domestic violence, and living beyond depression.
This post can also be seen on Susan Irene Fox, www.susanirenefox.com