Joy—it makes people wonder at your secret. Yet joy is no secret to the trusting Christian. When we choose to grow closer to God, resting in His character and provision, joy spills over into our lives so that others can’t help but notice.
Do you want to be a person of joy? Silly question, isn’t it? We would love to live above our circumstances. Or have a great attitude. Or laugh a lot. But joy goes beyond all these things. Let’s learn from God’s Word the lovely facets of joy:
1. Joy is the fruit of God’s Spirit
More than a great attitude or an indomitable spirit, joy comes from God (Galatians 5:22). Our joy increases in direct proportion to our intimacy with Christ. And when sin keeps us from that relationship, it also robs us of our joy (Psalm 51:8, 12).
2. Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances
Paul wrote Philippians—often called “the book of joy”—from a jail cell. He was criticized, tired, and misunderstood. But instead of allowing his horrible circumstances to choke out God’s Word and God’s Spirit (as Mark 4:19 describes they often can), Paul chose to concentrate on the joy of knowing Christ (Philippians 2:17). Next time you read Philippians, picture Paul’s jail cell...and his face.
3. Joy is a choice
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2 NASB). Here’s the reality—read it carefully. Life’s painful trials are not joyous in themselves, but when we walk through them, we should be filled with joy. Why? Because of the good God is developing in us and in the situation. We can know real joy while in the scariest storm when we fill our minds and hearts with truth about God.
Joy becomes a transaction between you and God that others can’t help but notice. It’s God’s life spilling over the brim of your life and into others’ lives. When you trust Christ with the details of your life, you experience His life in wonderful excess, and it can’t help but give you reason to smile.
Adapted from “A Reason to Smile: Cultivating a Fruitful Life,” Insights (March 2001): 1, 3. Copyright © 2001 by Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.