“The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting” – C.S. Lewis.
How do I find joy? If you talk to 100 people you most likely will get 100 different places to find joy. If you want even bigger numbers google joy: over 1 billion results will pop up on your device. If you click on the top sites, you will find list after list of things you can do to try and find the joy you are looking for that border on the practical all the way to the surreal and everything in between. But is joy that complex and varied and is it that difficult to pin down?
Philippians 1:3-5 says, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”
The Apostle Paul was in prison awaiting a trial and a verdict when he wrote these words. In preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and declaring Jesus as the true king, Paul had broken the law of Rome. But despite Paul’s imprisonment, Philippians is a letter characterized by joy. How could Paul have joy in prison? How could Paul have joy in a time of great uncertainty? Lastly, how could Paul experience joy when he knew that the judgment of death could happen every day?
Philippians 1:3-5 gives us the answer. Read Paul’s words again. He thanks the Lord for the relationships and for the fellowship he has shared with the church in Philippi. God and the church members are the source of joy for Paul. They studied God’s word together, built the church, and shared the Gospel throughout Philippi. While Paul was not able to be with them at this time, he knew that their friendships were eternal. Paul reminded himself of this truth and of the joy of partnership which enabled Paul to give thanks and experience joy even in difficult circumstances.
We can experience the joy of God’s presence today as well as the joy of living with Him in eternity. In Psalm 16:11, the psalmist writes, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
The joy of the Lord is the firm, unshakeable belief that God loves me and the unbendable belief that He is working everything for my good.
There are many things in this life that can give us happiness or even a taste of joy. Relationships. Nature. A fun hobby. But nothing can give you long-lasting joy like the freedom that is found in the completed work of Jesus.
God loves you. He knows you. And He is working in you.
So, before you do a Google search on where to find joy, remember that the results are already in. All we need is found in Christ.
- When people say that God has a wonderful plan for their lives, what do they usually mean?
- What can we do this week to trust and accept God’s plan for the future?