We were meant for joy. Instead we settle for comfort. We look everywhere for it. It is at the root of addictions, greed and many of our emotional issues. We look for comfort because we do not have joy. There’s a difference. God wants us to have more than comfort, He wants us to return to joy from our negative emotions. Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” This begs the question, what was it that Jesus said that would result in such joy?
When we look, we see that Jesus told those listening, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” It is His love that gives us joy and remaining in His love, even after negative emotions, that returns us to joy. So how do we do this? How do we remain in His love? By following His commandment that He gave us in today’s passage. “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” It is this simple: our joy will come through loving relationships, both with God and those He brings into our life.
Father, fill us with Your joy. The joy that comes through the deep and loving relationships we can have with You and those that You bring into our lives. Help our joy overflow. In Jesus’ name. AMEN
Maybe you’re confused, angry, and discouraged, but all you know is suddenly all the joy is gone. There are so many things that seek to rob us of joy. Circumstances can shake our faith. People will discourage us. And things can distract us from what God wants us to enjoy. He wants us to experience his abundant, overflowing joy. And that actually involves a choice on our part. I believe that one of the commodities that is missing in life today is joy. Turn on your television and even the sitcoms are centered around making fun of someone’s misfortune or something crude. The leading stories in newspapers today are bad news. An examination of most newspapers will show that there really is little good news to report. Even consider the weather report. Often you hear tomorrow will be sunny with a 20% chance of rain instead of its going to be mostly clear with an 80% chance of sunshine. And often there is confusion to what joy really is as well. Sometimes even people in God’s church have a hard time expressing true joy, remember that joy is a fruit of God’s holy spirit and God expects us to come to know his joy.
What is joy? Joy is something that we choose to express. It’s not pie in the sky; it doesn’t come and go like the wind. And where does this kind of joy come from? Well, as you know, it’s a matter of attitude that comes from God’s holy spirit dwelling in us and our confidence in God, the belief that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, or will happen.