Joy

Joy is not a privilege for those with a perfect life, or a prize for those who have it all together.

I need joy desperately, yet for some reason it is something that I struggle to attain. So I am turning to the Lord to teach me, as my own methods have failed.

In my personal pursuit of joy, the first thing I had to do was face a wrong way of thinking I developed along the way. Here’s what I came to terms with:

Yes, my soul longs for joy, but I also want strength.

I want to be strong in all areas of my life, and I want to succeed. So I put my head down and work. I am a worker. When I’m stressed, I work. I want to get things done. At these times, I still want joy, but I actually want strength more. I am NOT manifesting joy. I am a ball of stress. (Dear God, send angels to my family. And thank you, also, for sanctification. Amen.)

My desire for strength is not wrong, but it is my pursuit of strength first that robs me of joy. I chase strength, yet feel weaker and weaker all the time. My soul is too busy trying to be strong to feel any joy.

My soul is too busy trying to be strong to feel any joy.

I get it backwards so many times.

I believe if I am strong in my work, THEN I will have time for joy.

Yet the Word of God says something opposite: “the JOY of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Joy comes first. Strength comes next.

But my flesh more often than I would like to admit says this, “Let me show off my strength, then I will be full of joy!”
 
Psalms 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

How does joy make me strong?

When my heart is filled with the truth and knowledge of God’s love, I cannot help but rejoice. Eternal life, both now and forever, has been provided. This is cause for rejoicing. Joy bubbles up in my heart and I am strengthened to keep moving.

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22)

Joy is not just a happy feeling. Joy is a result of God’s love poured out upon us through Jesus.

I recognize my sin, and I repent. Now I am at peace with God eternally! God’s love has provided the way for my salvation, and now, my joy.

So my surrender precedes my peace, and it precedes my joy.

Jesus speaks to us in John 15:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

Jesus is the vine in whom we must abide. When we abide in Christ, we will produce the fruit of joy.

Joy lights up a room. 

A person of joy will light up any room. You know what it feels like to be in a dull room and a person filled with joy walks in???

I am not talking about a plastered smile and chipper, “Everything is great!” I am talking about a person who radiates joy that is clearly stemming from a deep source.

Joy is God’s light manifested, and it is meant to spread throughout the world.

The joy of the Lord is beautiful, attractive, and contagious.

The fruits of the Holy Spirit which God develops in us are designed and destined to nourish the earth. We must have joy, so that we can share the fruit of God’s love with the world.

Yes, joy will give you strength, and encourage your own heart, but joy is also for others!

The world needs joyful women, joyful sisters, joyful mothers. When the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in our lives, all those around us are blessed.

This joy will not depend on our circumstances. It does not depend on seasons of wealth, functional relationships, perfect health, and carefree living.

The joy that transforms my life is the joy of my salvation.

God’s Love is the source. And what the Lord has provided, no circumstance can take away.

The joy of the Lord is our strength, so let us surrender our efforts and abide in Christ.

Joy is the fruit of the Spirit working and transforming us. Sisters, let’s allow our rooted-in-love joy to be a light to every person we encounter today. God has given us each a sphere of influence, so now let’s go light it up.

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About Marianne Sloan

Marianne Sloan is passionate about Jesus, her family, and living simply, intentionally, and with great joy. She has found that there is no greater life fulfillment than following hard after the God who has created her, knows her by name, and who loves her. The wife to Luke, and mama to four, Marianne and her family live in beautiful Tennessee. She is a homeschool-mom, web-designer, and nature-lover. Spending her days raising and teaching her four littles keeps her hands full, but when she's not mothering, working or teaching, she loves to read, write, garden, and run. You can connect with Marianne on her BLOG {mariannemsloan.com} and INSTAGRAM {@marianne_sloan}.

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