“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Honestly, when I think of that word, I think of red and green blinking lights and Christmas trees.
I know it should mean so much more.
Joy has nothing to do with emotions. Happiness does not equal joy. Joy, like love, is a choice.
Paul said to “consider it pure joy” when we face trials (James 1:2). To be honest, when I read that verse I think, “Paul had some screws lose when he wrote that. This verse must be the result of some bad prison bread.”
But it’s not. It’s God speaking. It’s God saying, “Do the hard thing. Look your trials in the face and have joy.”
Naturally, that makes me want to know more about joy because I don’t think he’s saying to be happy about your troubles. When the cancer diagnosis comes in, nobody celebrates. When the phone call comes in too late at night, people are not crying with excitement. These are not happy circumstances… so why does Paul say to consider them “pure joy”?
I don’t know, but it is worth finding out.
I’m not only challenging myself to “have joy” today; I’m challenging myself to find out what in the world it means to “have joy”. I know that joy is not denial. God doesn’t want you to deny your circumstance or deny your pain. He does, however, want you to have joy.
I’m on a mission to find out what that means. Join me tonight, and we’ll discuss this little enigma of the Bible together.