Do you have Joy?
Do you have Joy?
Being that JOY is the theme of this entire blog, I figured it’s a good question to ask, right? Most of us want to walk through life with joy, so it should matter to ask.. do you, do we, actually have it. One of the biggest reasons I’m writing this post is to encourage many of you that may struggle with this question. When you think about Joy and whether or not you have it; if your heart sinks with worry, if you get a pit in your stomach, if you think of all the reasons you’re not a joyful person, this post is especially written for you.
I have a better and more direct question, that will give us a more complete answer. DO YOU HAVE JESUS?
Do you have Jesus?
Meaning, do you know him? Are you pursuing him? Do you have a relationship with him? If you can say yes, well then, good for you! You DO have joy! Even if you don’t feel joyful, even if you rarely squeak out a smile… you have joy. Final answer- no other options.
You, dear sister, that struggles with knowing whether or not you have it, YOU DO. The fact of the matter is- if you have Jesus- you have Joy.
IF YOU HAVE JESUS- YOU HAVE JOY!
(I give you full permission to stop right here for a five or ten second praise break. )
Let’s think about it, together. As soon as we die to ourselves and are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit, right? If the Spirit is in you- if Christ lives in you through the indwelling of His Spirit, than surely his joy lives in you, too. That’s a BIG HOORAY. God doesn’t give himself to us in bits and pieces. No, instead, the full Spirit of God comes to make a home in us.
We are only growing in fully understanding and believing that what is in us, is in fact the power of God. As we go deeper in our faith, we see more of God’s spirit manifest in us. It’s a faith thing. It’s a mind over circumstance thing. Maturing in our faith doesn’t mean God comes into us more. - it means we grow into HIM more. Which means, we can start thinking about the joy that DOES live in us, and know this it is God’s hope that we grow into a more joyful person.
But- how often do we overlook this? WE HAVE JOY living in us, available to us, already! What gets in our way is that we let our experiences speak louder than the truth. I remember I used to read that verse in Galatians and think, “well, I don’t feel patient today… or I don’t feel like I have joy…?” I would mistake my ever changing feelings as being the truth. Praise be to God, I had the revelation a while back, that no matter what I feel, the truth is the truth. Our feelings are not the ULTIMATE TRUTH- they are momentary and fickle. THIS is important to understand. When it comes to joy, the truth is- it’s in us and its always at our fingertips.
Joy is so important to God. He brings it up a lot in the Bible. In some translations, it’s mentioned over 200 times.
Galatians 5:22-23 says that the FRUIT of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, mentioned second only to LOVE. I think there’s meaning in EVERY single word in Scripture, and even the order in which the words were written. If it’s God breathed in nature- I don’t want to overlook any detail. I bet Paul wrote those in an order that has more significance than we may think. No- I’m not a scholar- I could be off. So, if someone wants to argue with me that there is no significance- come at me, bro. I’m writing a short post to explain, I’ll publish it sometime in the future… who the heck knows when. I’m an under-slept mom of two small children…. it could be next week or never or next year… ya just never know.
Shift your perspective through prayer
How often do we pray for things we already have? One thing I’ve felt God do when we are talking, is nudge me when I’m asking for something He has already given me. Can God actually answer your prayer if it’s already been answered? I know that seems a little strange to ask, but think about it. Maybe we aren’t seeing that our prayers for joy are in fact already answered?
He stops me in my tracks like this a lot. For instance, I almost robotic-ally ask him to “be with me.” It’s something I say in prayer that’s been ingrained in me from a young age. You may pray that, too. In response, I feel him say, “I am with you. I never left you, and I never will.” It’s not that he is correcting me in a smug, “you should already know that, Shelly,” kind of way. He nudges me to remind me that he has already granted my request and instead I can thank him for it. Quickly my prayer turns into, “THANK YOU, that you are with me. Thank you that you don’t come and go. Thank you for living in me and being my closest friend.” Every time this happens, I shift gears, and start to thank God for what He has already done. Y’all- this is AMAZING because it goes from us thinking we are in need- to being in a place of peace because we already have what we are in need of. This has been especially powerful in how I pray about Joy. God has nudged me enough and now I believe not only that Joy is in me but that it’s growing as I grow to be more like Jesus. Instead of asking for it, I THANK him for it. Start praying like this and watch what happens. I dare you.
This can actually be boiled down to every single problem we have…. another post for another day… but really, all we actually need is Jesus, right? And we have him. So, that means, every. single. prayer. can be one of thanksgiving and praise because ultimately we already have everything we need. SO COOL to think about, don’t you think?
It’s really just a shift in perspective with a little help, (or a lot) from the Holy Spirit. To understand the things of God we need three things; (1) His spirit living in us, (2) wisdom and discernment of His word and (3) prayer. These three things combine to create a loving relationship with God. In relationship, we begin to see a shift in our minds. Our minds actually start to become renewed! Over time, I’ve even seen God nudge me less in prayer as my mind is renewed to be more aware of his Kingdom, power and righteousness in me. I have seen God work in me to understand and believe him for things I thought were impossible. Maybe you are one that just doesn’t think it’s possible that you could be a “joyful” person. I bet God can do the unthinkable. Invite him in, thank him for giving you what you need, believe in faith and expect change.
This isn’t a Game to God
Friends, God isn’t trying to be tricky with his joy; with anything, really. I know God is hard to understand. I mean, he can just breathe and stars are formed…. mind. blown. Yes, He is often mysterious- but the things he has revealed- he’s revealed plainly, so that through His spirit in us, we can see and believe in faith. So as far as HIS JOY goes…. it is already ours.
We only need to start tapping into it!
Let’s dig into the words of Jesus.
In John 15, Jesus talks about abiding in Him so that we can grow in love and good works. It’s one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. Lately, I’ve been reading it almost every day. In it we find that it is through the intimacy we share with Jesus that everything else grows. If you have the time, I’d encourage you right now to pause and read it. Here is a quick link to read.
Come pick up here after you’ve read it.
Notice, Jesus says in verse 11 that he tells us these things so that his joy may be in us so that our joy may be complete.
John 15 tells us many things. I bet I could write a blog post on every sentence. We don’t have time to go into every detail, but there are a few things I think are important to highlight for the sake of this post.
Our joy is HIS joy. Jesus says, he tells us SO THAT his joy will be IN US. We can rejoice in that we don’t have to (and can’t) create the joy we need to live fulfilling lives. God’s already created it and has planted it in us. That makes me so happy knowing I don’t have to figure out how to be joyful… God’s done the hard work.
Our Joy can be complete. This is the part we have to believe in faith. Complete joy? What does that even look like? I bet it doesn’t look like grumbling and complaining. I am certain it doesn’t look like anger, frustration or bitterness. Complete joy? Maybe it doesn’t always look happy- but I bet a lot of the time it does.
Jesus WANTS us to be joyful. Do you find it so precious that Jesus himself is telling his friends, “guys- I’m telling you this so that you will have MY complete joy.” I mean, what an incredible Savior.
If you know me, you know I talk a lot. I could write on and on and on about this, because I think it is that special. BUT! I won’t. I’m learning to chill out a bit and that less is more. So I hope this blesses you and gives you hope as you dig into…
the joy that’s already in you.