Summary: Every Christian has the capacity of joy within their lives because the Holy Spirit dwells within them.
We have spent time discussing the 8 beatitudes that Jesus says we are to have in order to be a better Christian. Then we began to look at the fruit of the spirit as outlined by Paul in Galatians 5: 22-23.
Tonight, we take a look at JOY.
One guy claims that his wife hasn’t spoken to him since last Christmas. He said, “Last year, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she said, ‘Oh, just surprise me.’ So, at 3 o’clock Christmas, I leaned over and yelled, ‘BOO!’”
In my ministry, I have heard people agonize over God’s will for their life. Is this God’s will for me? Is that God’s will for me? Did such-and-such happen because of God’s will? Would you like to know what God’s will is for you? It’s found in 1 Thess. 5: 16-24. Paul writes, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” There it is from God’s Word. God’s will is for you to be joyful.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every morning we got up: The sun was shining –the birds were singing – there wasn’t a care in the world? Now that would almost be like heaven to us and oh how our day would start off to be a joyous celebration.
But in real life, so many times we get up and we find that it is raining – there is static on the radio instead of music – we stayed awake half the night worrying about everything that we can possibly think will go wrong –
Every Christian has the capacity of joy within their lives because the Holy Spirit dwells within them. Since joy is an aspect of God’s fruit, it must be an attribute lived out in our lives if we are children of God - because the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives and FRUIT is an evidence of whose we are.
But what is this joy that we speak of. Before we say what real joy is, let’s talk for a moment about what joy is not. First, joy is not happiness. Happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness is a feeling that can change as often as the weather.
Here in Texas one moment it’s sunny and bright and the next it’s cloudy and gloomy. – You know the old saying around here, “If you do not like the weather, just stick around another day or so and it will change.”
That is the good definition of happiness - You wake up in the morning happy and smiling but by the end of the work day you are sad and frowning. So, just stick around a few more hours and this feeling too will change.
Joy is a much deeper word than happiness. I guess that’s why the word happiness appears only 26 times as compared to joy or a variation of it which appears 330 times in the Bible. Joy is not happiness.
Secondly, joy is not an enthusiastic feeling. How easy it is to work yourself into feelings of gladness. In religion this is a dangerous place to find yourself.
Salvation is not a warm feeling or sensation; it is not a vision or the hearing of a voice of an angel or God. Salvation is repenting of your sins, trusting the finished work of Christ Jesus on your behalf and believing that God has raised Him from the dead guaranteeing your hope for eternal life. Salvation is in Christ – not feelings.
There’s more to joy than circumstances in life. If you think having the world by its tail will give you joy – think again! If you think there is joy in:
Money – ask a rich person what they want – the reply, “Just another dollar.”
Cars – ask a car owner what they want – the reply, “The newest model.”
Position – ask a worker what they want – the reply, “A better job.”
Power – ask your boss what he/she wants – the reply, “To be their boss’s boss.”
Retirement – ask a retiree what he/she wants – the reply, “Something to do.”
So joy is different from happiness. It’s more than enthusiastic feelings. It’s more that the circumstances in life can bring you.
Now let’s talk about what “joy” is. Children bring us joy. But there’s one child that has brought more joy into more people’s lives than any other. He is the Christ child of Bethlehem. We sing “Joy to the World.” But why? What is there about the coming of the Christ child that brings joy into our world?
First of all, Christ’s coming reminds us that there is a vertical dimension to life.
I saw a cartoon of a husband lecturing to his wife. He was sitting on the couch with a blackboard. He had written an equation on the blackboard that read like this: The mortgage is paid; we’re fully insured; the kids are okay; we’re healthy; and we have each other. It all equals happiness.” With a confused look on her face his wife said, “Would you run through that just one more time?” You see, all that may have equaled happiness, but joy was still missing.