The virtues which a Christian possesses is not man-made neither is it a product of the imagination of men. It is the consequence of a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joy is one of the most misunderstood virtues of a Christian. Its expression negates all normal human reactions. How else would you explain the advice of James to the Jewish Christians? ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds’ (James 1:2)
James obviously was not implying that these people should rejoice because they were facing tough and difficult trials. What He was saying is that they should consider it an occasion to rejoice because these trials are an indication that they are indeed God’s people. If they had any doubts before now, about their place in God, these persecutions threw all doubts out of the window and confirmed the reality of God’s presence in their lives.
Joy is something that is easily experienced than expressed. It is very different from happiness. So many people use the words joyful without really understanding what it means to be joyful. Happiness can be expressed. You can have a reason to be happy, life for instance, getting that dream job or getting married to the one you love. These are examples of events in our lives that would make us happy. People can often explain the reason for our happiness and can also understand when we tell them why we are happy.
On the other hand, joy is not something that can be easily explained. Many times, Believers want to explain the joy they are experiencing but they cannot, attempts to describe it is inaccurate and insufficient. This is because joy is not necessarily tied to an event. It is a creation of the Spirit of God. It is made more manifest when we yield more of our lives to the Lord.
I can never explain sometimes when I am praying and I burst into laughter. I can’t explain that and I am sure if there were an unbeliever around, he would most likely decide there and then that I needed psychiatric treatment. This happened to me several times not when I had reason to be happy, but when I was faced with difficult circumstances. I could never explain why all of a sudden in the middle of my prayers I would burst out laughing and praising God with tears in my eyes as if I just got news of great significance in my life!
I believe that the reason why happiness is often short-lived as against joy is that happiness is premised on temporal things while joy is premised on eternal things. For many years, I worked in an organization where I was paid a low salary. It was not enough that I was at that position, younger and less experienced people were employed in that same organization at thrice my pay as well as additional entitlements. Only those who were close to me knew about my situation. Others assumed from my demeanor and cheerful exterior that I was comfortable positioned. It was when God opened a way for me to change my job that a few people realized the true situation. They wondered how in that situation I could encourage them, pray with them and even offer assistance in any way I could. I can’t explain it myself, I could only say like the psalmist, ‘You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound’ (Psalm 4:7)
It is no wonder that David passionately appealed to God, ‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation’ (Psalm 51:12). This was after he had been guilty of adultery and murder. He knew what it meant to lose the presence of God.
Our adversary the devil knows the importance of this virtue called joy. This is why his modus operandi is to ensure that we do not experience this joy. This is done by reminding us of what we used to be, the mistakes we committed and making us feel unworthy of God’s blessings. Knowing this, our antidote is simply looking into God’s word and declaring our heritage in God.
What are you facing today in your life? Let the Spirit of God illuminate your heart with the joy of the Lord. You will be amazed how God begins to sort things out in an unbelievably simple way!
Steve O. Popoola
© June 2009, Biblepraise Fellowship Online.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. British by birth, He currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria with his wife Maris and their children; Praise, Stephanie and Precious. He works as an IT professional in a bank. He presently serves as Church Secretary and Heads the Music Ministry in his local church . He loves to encourage and inspire through speaking forums. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address,email@example.com