Discovering Joy

{Romans 15:13; ESV}
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

We long for joy, but it seems to elude us in the mundane details of life. It is hard to be joyful when you have a stack of bills to pay, a deadline at work to meet, and children to feed. Joy often seems like a luxury we cannot afford rather than a promised characteristic of the Christian life.

In the verse above we discover the apostle Paul asking God to fill the Romans with joy. Because of the circumstances of their lives Paul knew that they only way they would experience joy is if God gave it to them.

I think this is a basic truth that we need to understand: God wants us to be filled with joy. In fact, joy should be a defining quality of our lives as we follow Jesus. We are to be joyful people!

The pressures of life often make joy one of the most elusive characteristics to have. We experience times of happiness and pleasure, but true joy eludes us. Part of the reason for this is because joy is not so much a feeling as it is a quality of life. The sad truth is that we have learned to settle for these momentary feelings rather than fighting for the joy God wants us to experience.

How can we discover joy?

  1. Joy is discovered in the contentment of the life that we have. It flows from the knowledge that we are in exactly the right place. We can’t have joy when we allow ourselves to believe that the good life is just around the corner. When we are discontent with our lives we will not experience the joy we were designed to have. It is so easy to convince ourselves that the missing piece for joy in our lives will be found in the next relationship, with a new job, or having a nicer house. Rather than enjoying the blessings we have right now we focus on what seems to be missing from our lives; this practice robs us of joy. Joy takes delight in our family and friends. Joy springs from gratitude from all of God’s blessings, no matter how big they might be. Joy flows out of our relationships rather than our possessions. A change of perspective is needed if we are going to experience joy.
  2. Joy is found in our desire. Yes, that does sound contradictory, but it is not. Contentment is not the absence of desire, rather it is finding fulfillment in the way things are. Desire comes from the knowledge that things don’t stay the same. To stop desiring means a loss of joy in our lives. Joy is found in the desire for things to come. It is the desire of the young lady content with her fiancé but who also longs for the wedding day. It is the desire of parents content with their baby but who also long to see her grow into a mature young woman. It is the desire of the Iowa Hawkeye fan content with the current state of the football program but who also longs for a National Championship. Hidden amongst our greatest desires is joy.

We were created to experience joy. It is one of the qualities God desires His children to experience. We will experience joy along this journey called life as we learn to be content with God’s blessing and set our hearts to desire the right things. There is joy in life and I hope you find it.

Questions to Consider:

  • What is one source of joy you have in your life?
  • How content are you with your life?
  • What desire do you have that brings you joy?

 

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