Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 5, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit — Joy Defined!

Day 1970: Make your Monday filled with JOY, not . . .

Scripture: This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:4   In God’s presence are the fullness of joy and life’s richest pleasures.  Psalm 16:11b

Thoughts/questions:  The world has substituted its word ‘happy’ for God’s term ‘joy.’  Is that just semantics or is there a significant difference?  I believe there is.  More than once I have heard this when someone did something that seemed contrary to their belief system – “I just want to be happy” or they pulled out the God card to defend their actions with – “God wants us all to be happy.”

If happiness is the reason some of us make decisions, it better be the right one!  Happy – defined as ‘feeling pleasure’ is based on external circumstances.  If something good happens to us, we’re happy.  If not, we’re not happy.  This feeling of pleasure comes from external circumstances often out of our control, whereas God’s joy comes from an internal confidence in God’s relationship with us that is primarily in our control!

Hebrews 12:2 states that for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross suffering its shame.  Jesus definitely did NOT define joy as ‘feeling pleasure’ since He knew the pain in store for Him.  The day Jesus suffered was a day the Lord has made like all days are, and He was able to experience an internal joy because He knew that God’s plans were being fulfilled in His life.  His joy was unquestionably not based on His external circumstances!

We can rejoice each day because God wants all of us to experience His joy to the full as a result of knowing Him more intimately every day and growing in our confidence that He is there for us with a specific plan for our eventual best!  If our goal is joy resulting from seeking to ‘know and grow’ in God every day, we will rejoice and be glad – Seek His joy today!

Suggested prayer:  Lord, You are the living God of the universe and You have plans for me today!  Help me to be joyful no matter what happens . . . 

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