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GUARDING OUR JOY
By Carolyn Dale Newell
Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice,
And your joy no one will take from you.
John 16:22 NKJV
“Jesus, others, yourself” – that was my early Sunday school definition of joy. The NT definition is not much different. Joy is not an emotion like happiness, which is based on “happenings”. Joy is a state of mind produced by the Holy Spirit in Christians.
Throughout Scripture, people were joyful despite their circumstances. Paul was joyful in tribulations (2 Cor. 7:4). James commanded us to count trials as joy (James 1:2). The author of Hebrews spoke of Christians who had joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods (Heb. 10:34). Christ endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:2). Repeatedly, Paul rejoiced for Christians, their salvation and spiritual growth, but you will not find joy based on circumstances in Scripture. Joy is found in Christ, and that is the reason that no one can steal our joy.
There are many times when I do not feel joyful. The world would love to steal my joy. The devil would love to steal my joy, and there are times when I allow that to happen. Those times when my plans don’t work out, and I am sadly disappointed. A gliche in my computer will leave me feeling anything but joyful, because it interferes with my writing. That is when I need to remember to resist the devil (James 4:7). I need to take my eyes off the problem and get alone with God who is bigger than any problem I face.
Our joy is based on our hope in Jesus Christ. This world is not our home. Our home is heaven, and we will spend eternity there. With that prospective, we can face anything, big or small, with joy in our hearts.
Thank You for Your Spirit which lives within me and produces joy. Forgive me for the times when I allow my joy to be diminished because I have focused on something other than You. Help each of us today to be examples of true Spirit filled joy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Ps. 5:11, John 15:11, John 16:16-24, and Acts 2:28.
HIKING THE TRAIL
Do you feel joyful today? Why or why not? Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and it cannot be worked up. Consider the things which may be hindering your joy.
Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.