“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
When you hear the word joy, what comes to mind? Happiness? Cheerfulness? A smiling face? Joy is most often defined in respect to our feelings and emotions, but true joy as God defines it is so much more. While joy and happiness are frequently used synonymously, they are so very different. Happiness is a fleeting feeling, a circumstantial emotion. We can be happy one moment and sad the next. It’s fluid, subject to change at any given time. However, joy as God intends is something we have regardless of our situation in life. It doesn’t just melt away or disappear when troubles arise. It’s constant, a God-given gift. If we dive into God’s word, we can see that He has laid out for us what His joy is…
- Joy is strength. In life, we all have those moments that we realize how very weak we as humans are. Bad news from a doctor, that devastating phone call, a wayward child, marital strife, bills we cannot pay… things happen unexpectedly that knock us down. But when we have true joy, we don’t stay down- we find the strength to get back up, a strength that only comes from spending time in the presence of our omnipotent Father.
- Nehemiah 8:10 “… Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
- I Chronicles 16:27 “Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy in His dwelling place.”
- Joy is fulfilling. Ever have one of those days where you just feel drained? Sometimes as a mom it feels like everyone needs more and more from you and of you, and it can suck you dry. When you feel you’ve been depleted of all you have to offer, God is right there, ready to fill you back up to overflowing with His presence, love, and grace. When our focus is turned to Him, our souls overflow with His joy.
- Psalm 4:7 “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and wine abound.”
- Psalm 16:11 “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
- Joy endures. Living a joy-filled life does not mean that life is going to be sunshine and roses. It doesn’t even mean that we have to force a smile when everything seems to be crashing around us… we don’t become immune to pain or heartache, nor are we called to put on a front for those around us. Life is hard- but we have joy in knowing that our circumstances are temporary. As the song “Before the Morning” by Josh Wilson goes, “…the pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” There is a time for mourning and weeping, but joy in knowing that this, too, shall pass.
- Psalm 30:5 “…Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”
- Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
- Joy is expressed. We have joy because of who He is, and we express that joy through worship. Even on our worst days, we can express joy in our relationship with Christ. Because of Him, our trials and tribulations are temporary and we have a perfect eternity awaiting us. That very thought should fill us so full of joy that we cannot keep from singing and shouting His praises! The joy we have in Him gives us great hope, and we should take every opportunity to express our gratitude. Life is one big opportunity- Are we seizing that opportunity? When our children look at us, do they see a heart that is full of the joy of the Lord, or do they see a grumbling spirit? When we are filled with the joy of the Lord, it overflows into a life of worship.
- Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”
- Job 8:21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”
As we continue to push our way through our life journey and embrace our calling as moms, let’s make an extra effort to let ourselves be filled with joy. Find joy in the midst… in the midst of chaos… in the midst of dishes and laundry… in the midst of negativity… in the midst of the pile of bills… in the midst of illness… in the midst of daily routines… in the midst of all that demands our attention… in the midst of it all, there is joy to be found. Our Father wants to fill us, but the only way to stay filled up is to spend time daily in His presence, studying His Word, talking with Him in prayer, and praising Him, even in the small things. The joy we have in Him far exceeds the pain and struggles of this life, so let’s shift our focus away from the temporary and to the eternal and live a life of overflowing joy.