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The Word of God continually reminds us that we need to rejoice and walk in joy! But why is that? What is it about joy that shifts our focus to God and allows us to overcome?
Join us as we discover the biblical importance of joy and how it can change attitudes and situations, creating opportunities of overcoming!
Joy and God’s Word
Joy is something that we can easily overlook. All of us want to be happy, but joy? Why is that biblically important?
Certainly, love is the greatest commandment according to Matthew 22:34-40, and the greatest thing according to 1 Corinthians 13:13… but what of joy?
Well, joy and joyful can be found nearly 200 times in most versions of the Word; while rejoice/rejoiced/rejoicing can be found even more. Joy may not be found as often as love is, or even other aspects of Godly character… but its importance cannot be denied. Especially when we know it is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (emphasis added)
We see in this passage of scripture, that “joy” is listed second—after “love.” Love, as expected, comes first, but joy is positioned before kindness, peace, even faithfulness!
Why is that? What is it about joy that is being overlooked by most of us?
Joy, or the Lack of It, Affects People and Situations
So, why is it important to choose joy?
Let us consider a hypothetical situation…
A person finds themselves awakened several hours early and cannot go back to sleep. So, after a time, they get up and prepare to go to work. Now, on the way to work in their brand-new car, a tire blows and they have to stop and change it. Dirty and late, they rush to get to work, but find that they have to drive a detour due to a recently fallen tree limb; causing them an extra ten-minute delay.
Now, in this situation, there are many possible responses, but let’s look at two…
Awakened several hours early and exhausted from tossing and turning, they angrily roll out of bed and prepare for work.
Changed and looking presentable, they get into their brand-new car and half-smile. Something in their life is in their control.
Driving along as their favorite song plays, their back right tire blows, littering the shoulder of the road with fresh tire, as they work to keep the car in their lane before pulling off. Slamming the car door, they work their way to the damage, kicking at a small piece of tire that landed nearby. Grumbling, they gather their jack, spare tire, and lug wrench and get to fixing the problem.
Spare tire on, they are dirty, late, and angry as the early wakeup and newest events replay over and over in their mind. Soon though, they are back on the road… but, passing a fallen limb and safety workers, they are forced to take a detour. Causing them to arrive to work even later and far angrier.
Now, this response is one most of us can understand—even if it may not be how we ourselves would respond. However, let us look at how CHOOSING joy, even when it may not be our first instinct, allows us to overcome!
Waking hours early, a frown appears before being replaced with a smile—God has given them another day to do His will on earth. While able to fall lightly asleep off and on, it is not long before it is time to get ready for work.
Singing offkey as they praise God, they head out to their brand-new car. Smiling, they thank Him for the ability to have such a nice, reliable vehicle.
Driving down the road their back right tire blows out, littering the highway with rubber as they slowly manage to work their car off the road. They are confused at why God, after giving them a new car, allowed their tire to blow, but they thank Him for keeping them safe and for the gift of the new car.
Dirty and late, they get back on the road but are quickly met with neon-clad workers redirecting them around a newly fallen limb. Was this the reason why God allowed their tire to blow? They—though not knowing the answer in the natural, but having the Spirit confirm it—thank God.
Smiling and singing praises to God, they take the detour to work; late, but protected.
In both of these, the situations were nearly identical, it was the approach to each that was different.
The approach we take may or may not affect our results, but often they do. Often, we, or those around us, or even situations, can be altered drastically by our approach. So, while the approaches in these examples did not directly impact the results, what might be different with the person themselves, or the rest of the day?
In the first instance, the person would likely keep that foul mood for quite a while—if not the whole day—and every person they talked to, or interacted with, would experience and perhaps even develop it themselves.
In the other instance, the person would likely keep choosing joy as they thanked God for His protection and love. They might even tell their testimony to others, and every person they talked to or interacted with would experience that positive, rejoicing, joyful mood, and perhaps develop it themselves.
Moods can be contagious. To ourselves and to others. But while emotions are from God, we can make choices that will empower the ones we need to walk in—like joy! We can choose joy and overcome!
Joy and Overcoming
The Word says we are to sing for joy. To have joy and rejoice in all the Lord has done for us. To walk in the joy of the Lord…
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”
—Psalm 95:1 (NIV)
“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
“…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The joy of the Lord is our strength! It is one of the tools God gives us to direct our gaze; to take us out of a negative, destructive cycle of words, thoughts, and even actions, and into one of LIFE, where God is at the center!
When we choose joy, we are able to overcome!
Joy, in many ways, is tied to praise and thanksgiving. By choosing joy we are able to praise the Lord, entering into His Courts with thanksgiving! And this is part of the reason why joy is so powerful… because joy, rejoicing, praise, thanksgiving… these are like hot coals on the enemy’s head! And they are lovely to God!
We can choose to walk in joy. We can choose to fix our eyes on the prize—the Lord—in every situation… allowing HIM to lead.
Remember, that THE JOY OF THE LORD is YOUR STRENGTH! When you choose joy, you are accepting the Lord’s strength!
“Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, ‘Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.’”