Does joy ever feel elusive to you? Do you ever have a hard time getting there and staying there—what with the routine and the distraction and the trouble of everyday life? We do too. But the way Holy Spirit talks about it, it doesn’t sound like it’s actually elusive at all, does it? It sounds solid and sure. And the way He talks about it, it’s less a state of mind and more . . . just . . . relationship.
But I guess that makes a ton of sense actually. I mean, the apostle Paul explained in his long-ago letter to the church at Galatia what joy is, actually. He told us that joy is a fruit of the Spirit—the fruit of a relationship with Holy Spirit. That’s in Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23.
Joy is a fruit that is borne out of a relationship with God.
Intimacy with Him . . . begets joy. He’s the source. So, joy isn’t something we achieve or earn or choose or strive for, it’s something we accept. It’s something we surrender into. Because that’s how we get into and go deeper into, relationship with God. We surrender into it. We let go, even a little bit, of the things we’re holding onto so tightly in this world . . . and we let Him love us.
I want this kind of joy—true joy, deep joy—don’t you? I want to live with and in God’s joy. Because, right now, “joy-filled” is not quite how I would describe my average day.
Is it how you would describe yours?
I want my being and my life to be filled with my Father’s joy. I want to live with that constant knowing—knowing that I am okay, despite my circumstances—knowing that I am loved and that nothing can ever, ever take my joy away.
There is an awesome new book from Stasi Eldredge called Defiant Joy: Taking Hold of Hope, Beauty, and Life in a Hurting World. In it, Eldredge writes about how happiness is circumstantial. It is, by its nature, connected to external things. We can, by definition, only be happy about something. Happiness doesn’t exist apart from external circumstances, worldly triggers—which is why it comes and goes. But joy, she writes, is different. Joy isn’t connected to worldly circumstances. True joy is rooted in the deeper reality of God’s goodness. And that’s why it can’t ever be taken away. Because God can never be taken away.
Eldredge puts it like this: “Joy is connected to God and reserved for those who are tapping into his reservoir, who are connected to His life . . . Joy is rooted in God and His kingdom, in the surety of His goodness, His love for us. It is immovable. Unshakable. Joy is available at all times, day and night, because God and His kingdom are always available to us.”
So, again, the key to adopting and inhabiting God’s joy? It’s this: relationship. The key is getting to know Him—getting to know Him as a person, a friend, a father.
Come, listen to “Getting to Know Joy, That Place in Your Heart.”