This week, we continue in our series Hope For Today.
Last week, we looked at Jesus being our hope for today, but also the future. Today, we explore hope-filled joy.
Joy…we all want it, but it often eludes us. What does joy mean?
Joy is interesting – according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, joy can either be a noun or verb depending on its context.
Joy as a noun1 can be one of the following:
(a) : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : DELIGHT (b) : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : GAIETY
2 : a state of happiness or felicity : BLISS
3 : a source or cause of delight
Joy as a verb2 is:
to experience great pleasure or delight : REJOICE
Over the past year of the pandemic, joy has been replaced by fear and hurt. Joy, whether a noun or verb, seems to be missing from our vocabulary this past year.
Kids are funny – they tend to see joy and delight in most situations. Their carefree attitude smiles, and laughter can cure most heartaches. When life gets tough, joy and laughter can help reset our moods.
When we were young, we let things roll off of us more than we do today. Whether it is age, wisdom, or the curse of too much knowledge, joy seems to run from us quickly when faced with tough challenges.
Joy is mentioned throughout the entire Bible in various contexts. I remember when King David was dancing in the streets after bringing the Ark of the Covenant back. His wife said, you are making a fool of yourself. He responded I will be even more undignified than this!3
The Psalms are filled with joy and hope. Psalm 23 provides hope and comfort to the hurting and the promise that God is our Shepherd when we put our faith in Him.
As it is known to us, the Sermon on the Mount highlights aspects of joy when it comes under fire.4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2)
When our faith is being tested, or our temptations appear to be heavy, Scripture says we should consider it pure joy to face them.
In his book Imprisoned with ISIS: Faith in the Face of Evil, Petr Jasek shares his first-hand account of being locked up with men dedicated to the cause of ISIS. Each day, he would beg God to get him released from this situation he found himself in, but he always seemed to finish the request with not my will, but Yours be done, Lord. After his released, he looks back on what God did in that prison in his life to strengthen his faith and make a difference in other prisoner's lives.
Today, Romans 15 reminds us that our joy is in Christ and that we also have peace with joy. This joy should be so infectious that it billows from the depths of our souls.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Does your heart overflow with hope when times are tough?
One commentator put it this way,
When a person walks with the Lord, the person can continue to rejoice even when troubles come. Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given.5
Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22. When we read and hear the commentator's words, we can begin to understand the hope that Petr Jasek had while being imprisoned with members of ISIS.
His hope and his joy were from the Lord. He could not have survived without hope or joy.
Joy is important in a believer's life – it is a radiance that shines through even in the toughest of situations. I know that when I have a tough day, a well-timed smile or laugh helps restore my countenance.
As believers, we must remember that we reflect Jesus. Jesus was joyful and full of love. Christians should be the most joyful people on planet Earth; however, we often reflect the world around us versus our maker and creator.
Let’s strive for joy this week and find some good in all our situations this week.
This week, take a few minutes to reflect on an experience or time in your life that brought you joy. Ask the Lord to give you joy when you need it most.
Let your light shine before men and women so that your joy is infectious during these days of returning to some normalcy.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made – this alone should give us joy to celebrate!
Lord, thank you for joy, laughter, and smiles. Help me to live an infectious life so that others may see You living in me and ask why I have so much joy. You are the reason for my hope and joy! Amen!
- Joy – For King and Country (song)
- Imprisoned with ISIS: Faith in the Face of Evil – Petr Jasek (book)
- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy ↩︎
- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy ↩︎
- 2 Samuel 6:14-16 ↩︎
- Matthew 5:12 ↩︎
- Dean, R. J. (2003). Joy. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 957). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers. ↩︎
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