Summary: Joy is more than happiness.
This morning we begin with a musical experiment. I need three volunteers to see if we can get these glasses of water to “sing.” (Select volunteers).
As our volunteers rubbed the top edge, the water vibrated. You could hear the vibrations that came across as sound. If you would have looked closely, you could have seen sound waves in the water. This effect is called resonance. It is as if the finger found the hidden song, if you will, in the glass.
Psalm 92:4 says, “You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.”
The Psalmist says, “I sing for joy.” What makes people sing for joy? A couple of things come to mind. One thing that makes people sing for joy is a feeling of accomplishment that comes at the end of a class or a project at work or school. The pressure is off! We stand back and look at what we have done and there is relief and joy that we did it!
Another area that can make us sing for joy is family. It’s fun to watch parents having fun with their kids. There is laughter everywhere and when you look into the eyes of both parents and kids, there is the gleeful delight of joy in both sets of eyes! The late Arthur Ashe shares such an experience in his memoirs, Days of Grace, “As I sat in an armchair watching my little daughter dance and my wife’s face sparkle with life and joy, a wave of emotion like one of the waves of the ocean a few feet away from us washed over me, and I started to cry.
I cried quietly, but Jeanne turned her face and saw me. The smile left her face and then it quickly returned... because she knew at that moment I was happy. She knew I was crying not only out of sorrow but also out of joy, and that the joy was so powerful that it hurt. My joy was that there I was, on the beach under those stars listening to that music and watching the two people I loved more than anyone or anything in the world, and I did not want that feeling of perfect joy ever to end.”
Joy is such a great and positive emotion why would anyone say, “whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy?” Trouble and joy in the same sentence, the same closeness of thought? No way!
What is joy? Why is it important? Why is listed in Ephesians 5:22 and 23 as one of the Fruits of the Spirit?
Joy is a stable and ever present attitude in the midst of life. It is more than happiness. It is more than laughter. It is closely related to peace and hope. The story is told of a well-known preacher of another generation who as a child was greatly influenced by the joyful face and attitude of a well-known missionary of that day to the extent that he wanted to be just like him!
Joy is an important “Fruit of The Spirit” because joy is central to the Christian faith as we see in Paul’s affirmation, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say again - rejoice!” When Paul wrote the preceding statement, he was in jail for sharing Christ! And a jail is not a joyful place. The joy that he expressed, however, was not a put on. It was real, and it was a joy that was not subject to the circumstances that Paul found himself in.
Elsewhere in the Bible, he writes, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” Joy is one of the things that kept Paul going.
But it was not a joy that was based on circumstances; it was a joy that was based on the power, the person, and the purposes of God! We need to remember that joy, along with love, and the other nine qualities listed on our beautiful banner that was done by Grace Gillespie (thank you Grace!) are the result of the Holy Spirit working in our lives because they are qualities that God expects each one of us as His followers to exhibit in our daily lives. Therefore, the joy of which we speak is a joy that transcends as it overcomes and works through the difficult circumstances of life.
How does joy take root? How do we get joy to grow in the soil of our souls and lives?