«And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit»
(l Thessalonians 5:16).
«Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!» (Philippians 4:4).
IS IT POSSIBLE in the day and age in which we live to speak, write, and, above all, experience a life filled with joy? How can we remain joyful in the midst of so many anxieties and uncertainties? Few have suffered in life as much as the apostle Paul, and yet it is he himself who says that he was full of joy. This is a concept that he repeatedly presents in his writings.
The dictionary defines «joy» as a feeling of great happiness, pleasure, or delight caused by well-being, success, or the prospect of possessing what one desires. The Bible explains to us that sin-that is, separation from God—is the cause of lack of joy. In reality, sin promises joy, but it always delivers sadness. The joy it offers is superficial, feigned, and transient
In the Bible, joy is not pleasure, nor enthusiasm, nor elation, nor laughter. Joy is a deep feeling that comes as a result of experiencing the approval of our actions by God Joy is the assurance of knowing ourselves to be in God’s ways and will, regardless of any situation or adversity we must face.
There is a widespread idea leading to the thought that I find complete joy by doing what I like (meaning, what I want). Contrary to that idea, in the Bible true and complete joy is only possible in the presence of God. He is the God of joy, and Hegrants it to us as a gift, a favor, a fruit of the Spirit. If it is a fruit, then it is a result, or a consequence. It is the result of trusting and obeying the Word of God. It is the result of knowing that God is acting to fulfill His purpose, even in the most difficult circumstances.
The shepherd who finds his sheep and the woman who finds her coin share their joy with their neighbors, while the angels of heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents.
«Jesus says, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing’ (John 15:15).
Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,— all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly,—by abiding in Him,—that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith.
It is Christ first and last and always.
He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way»