DAY THIRTY FOUR of 50-Day Spiritual Journey

If I were to ask you, “What is that one moment in your life when you were the most happy?” what would it be? Your wedding day? The birth of your child? The day you graduated from high school or college?  Your first date! Sitting on the beach without a care in the world? Skiing down a snow-packed mountain?

Oftentimes in our culture, we confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is based upon our circumstances and can fluctuate like the wind, but true joy is lasting and deeply profound.

When you count the words “joy”, “joyful”, “glad” and “rejoice” in the Bible, they show up close to 600 times! So joy is a major theme running throughout the Bible.

One of the ways KNOWING and OBEYING the Word draws us closer to Jesus is that we get to experience His overwhelming joy in this journey to look more like Him.

Read the following Scriptures:

Nehemiah 8:10

Philippians 4:4

1 Thessalonians 5:16

I think we know what joy is but it’s very hard to define. We know when we’re not experiencing joy, but to actually put a definition of joy into words can be difficult to put our fingers on.
Here’s my best attempt: Joy is that deep sense of peace and confidence in the Lord in where we trust in Him no matter what our circumstances and He produces a settled delight in our hearts that rests in His sovereignty and love.

Read John 15:11

Jesus tells us that He wants our joy to be full. And it is His joy that He gives to us. It is produced by Him. It is not a worldly temporal happiness that we muster up within ourselves based upon our circumstances.

In addition, Jesus gives us this joy so that we can be full which in the original language carries the idea of a cup filled to overflowing.

Now go back and read what Jesus said before this. We’ve seen this a few times before in this 50-day journey, but it is a crucial passage in understanding our growth in Christ.

Read John 15:1-10

Count how many times the word “abide” or “remain” occurs.

What does it mean to abide in Jesus and His Word? It means that we so love and pursue and desire Jesus above all else that He is our ultimate treasure.

Augustine had these famous words in his book “The Confessions”: “God, You made us for Yourself, and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You.”

Do you agree with this amazing statement? We will never find true lasting peace or joy until we find our ultimate rest, satisfaction, and purpose in Jesus.

As we continue thinking about KNOWING and OBEYING the Word of God in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus, I want to remind of the words to an old hymn.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way,

While we do His good will, He abides with us still,

And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way,

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Being “happy” in Jesus is more than just a mushy feeling. It comes from this powerful joy that He puts in our soul that is lasting. But the more we trust and obey Jesus, the more we will experience the joy of the Lord.  The more we abide in His Word and study it not just for information, but for transformation, the more we will come to know this full joy that Jesus promises to give us.

Spend some time in prayer asking Jesus to give You His joy.

Dear Jesus,

Your joy is my strength. I want to trust and obey so that I can truly experience the fullness of joy that promise. I know that joy is so different than happiness. Happiness is a trite feeling that is based upon my circumstances, while joy is a deep and settled conviction of Your love and sovereignty that produces peace and confidence in my heart. Thank you that You desire the fullness of my joy. Holy Spirit, would you produce your fruit of joy in my life today.

In Your Name Jesus,
Amen

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