Last year, joy was not something I experienced very often. My job was really stressful, and, for various reasons, it was not a place that I was happy to be at every day. It affected my mood, my energy, and even my spiritual journey. Physically, I didn’t want to be there and being there every day exhausted me – both physically and mentally.
Looking back now, I really should have asked myself the question: what is my source of joy?
When looking back at last year, I realised that the source of my joy wasn’t coming from Jesus and therefore my joy always seemed incomplete or unattainable – like there was always something getting in the way of me being content and joyful.
My work was affecting my emotions because I was looking to that as my source of joy.
So, what is the joy referred to in the Bible?
In John 15:11, Jesus says “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
This verse is so powerful because Jesus said these words not too long before he was crucified. Even when He was facing death, He spoke about his joy and how He wants us to have His joy too. From this passage, it is clear that Jesus’s joy was not based on his circumstances, but instead, his joy was based in the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of His Father’s plan.
Again, I say, Jesus wants us to have this joy too.
He wants us to have the joy that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and that is rooted in the glory of Jesus Christ. Even when the angel appeared to the shepherds before Jesus’ birth, he described the coming of Jesus as good news that will bring great joy for all people (Luke 2:10). Jesus was the deliverer of perfect joy.
In John 15:11 Jesus also says that He wants the joy that is in you to be complete. Having a joy that is rooted in Jesus Christ makes you complete. It means that whether you are having a difficult experience at work, with friends or family, or with finances, your joy is still complete because these things are not the source of your joy – Christ is.
It means that even though you are going through these bad periods, you still find joy. This is the joy that Jesus wanted for all of us. One that stems from hope in the fact that our relationship with God is restored, that death has not won, and that we will be reunited with our Father in Heaven one day and experience eternal life the way that God always intended for us. That is the ultimate joy. That is what we can hold on to through any temporary, difficult circumstance.
So how do we hold on to joy that stems from Christ, especially when we are going through trials in our daily lives and it’s difficult to think past what’s right in front of us?
This is where feeding that biblical joy is really important. Through prayer and meditating on the word, we remind ourselves of the joy found in Christ and we reinforce the hope that we are holding on to.
God’s word speaks about how we renew our strength with the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10). This doesn’t mean that life will never have any trials, in fact the Bible encourages us to find joy even in our trials (James 1:2). It means that the harder times will be a little bit easier to get through when you keep your focus on God’s glory and Christ-like joy that far outshines the trials you may go through today (Romans 8:18).
The encouragement I leave you with is to seek Christ as your source of joy in all things.
Do this so that when life inevitably takes you through a season of trials, your joy will not waver, because it is rooted firmly in an unwavering Christ Jesus.
Seeking prayer? We would love to pray with you. Connect with us here.