Last week I was driving home from work and sitting at a red light. Based on the number of cars in front of me, I knew it was going to be a close call for me to make it through the next light cycle. The light turned green and the cars started to go, except for the one right in front of me. They were either texting, or checking Facebook, or taking a selfie, but they weren’t paying attention to the stop light. Finally they started to go, but they weren’t in any rush. As they approached the light it turned yellow. There was just enough time for them to make it through and leave me stuck there for another light cycle. As I started to fuss at them, it hit me that the driver not paying attention was not worth losing my joy over. I wasn’t thrilled that I had to wait at the light when there was clearly enough time for me to get through it, but I also wasn’t going to allow that to take away my joy.
Something I’ve noticed lately is that Christians (myself included!) seem like we don’t think joy is necessary or that it is OK if we lose our joy. We think that it is fine to just be mad and angry and have no problems voicing how we feel. If you’ve checked Facebook recently you probably have seen what I am talking about.
Let me first say that joy does not equal happiness. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines joy as a “state of delight and well-being that results from knowing and serving God”. Recently I have studied about joy and God has opened my eyes to a new understanding of it.
We often treat joy as something we can find. We search for it all over the place. We may look for joy in other people, school, jobs, money, or a number of other things. When we don’t have it we frantically try to figure it out. We search for it like a missing child. We will do anything to get our joy back.
Galatians 5 says, “The Holy Spirit produces these kinds of fruits…” and goes on to list the fruits of the spirit, one of which is joy. God showed me that joy cannot be found. Joy has to be produced in our lives. Joy is a fruit of the spirit. It is a fruit. The only way you get a fruit is if it is produced by a plant. The only way I’ll ever find true joy in my life is if I allow God to produce it in my life.
Going back to joy’s definition, this is done by knowing and serving God. It makes total sense. If I want God to be able to produce joy in my life, I have to be close to Him. No matter how hard it may be, I can’t allow my circumstances to determine my joy. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”
How crazy are those verses. Habakkuk has nothing. He has no crops, no livestock, nothing in the fields, and nothing in the barns. He has absolutely nothing to live on. Yet he says that he is joyful. The only possible answer is that he had an amazing relationship with God. I am not even close to being in that place. But as I allow God to produce it in my life by knowing and serving Him, Jesus tells me in John 16:22 that no one can rob me of that joy.
until next time…