What is Joy?

Joy

The word “joy” can mean all sorts of things depending on the context it is used in. But when it comes to the context of Christian living, what does it mean to have joy? The theme of joy is spread through God’s Word. David concluded with these words, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (). After instructing His disciples of the importance of abiding in His love and walking in obedience to His Word, our Lord said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (). I am sure you are familiar with the words of the apostle Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (). From these three texts, it is clear that the life of the believer is to be characterized by joy. When we talk about joy, we are to think beyond the concept of an outward cheer. To have joy in the Lord does not mean the believer is immune to sadness and grief. In-fact, as God’s people we are commanded to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (). So joy is not some superficial smile that we are to put on at all times. That is fake and of no benefit whatsoever. True joy is much deeper than that.

 

For God’s people, joy is the condition of being glad. This gladness comes as a result of being in fellowship with God. It is produced by the inward working of the Holy Spirit () and springing out of this condition are the actions of being joyful or rejoicing. It is important to understand that the act of rejoicing (expressing our gladness) is a command for the Christian (; ; ). In-order for us to effectively carry out our duty of rejoicing, we need to be fuelled by the delight of our joy. The Christian’s rejoicing is in the Lord (). What this means is that we need to remind ourselves daily of who God is and what He has done for us. The knowledge of His greatness and grace in our lives fills the heart of the believer with joy, and we are to respond to such knowledge with the act of rejoicing.

 

The amazing thing about this joy is that it can be present in good times and bad times. Circumstances do at times lead us down a pathway in which we experience sadness, sorrow and grief. However, the condition of being glad (joyful) is not conditioned upon how we are feeling or how well everything is going. Our joy comes as a result of our communion with God. No matter what trials or hardships impact upon the lives of God’s people, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (). As the pain of sorrow or hardship beats upon us, we can be reminded and receive the comfort from the settled truth that we are the Lord’s, that He loves His people (), and His sovereign plan and purpose is at work in our lives (). In this way, we can rejoice because as we respond to the reality of God’s sovereign care and love, we are to be thankful to Him for such realities. Though we weep, we can still rejoice. True, deep and abiding joy is found in knowing and delighting in the greatness and grace of our Lord.

32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.

Psalm 33:1

33:1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.

Psalm 64:10

10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him!
Let all the upright in heart exult!

3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

16 Rejoice always,

3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Romans 8:39

39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.

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