Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength.” And James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” But what exactly is the joy of the Lord? And how do we count everything joy?
The Difference Between Happiness and Joy
First, let’s look at the difference between happiness and joy. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, happiness is “the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good.” Joy, on the other hand, is “the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good.”
Notice the word “expectation” in the definition above. Joy does not necessarily come from good in the moment. Joy can come from the expectation of good.
Jesus is an example of someone who found joy in the good to come. When Jesus was crucified, there was no joy in that particular circumstance, but Hebrews 12:2 tells us that He still found joy. “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
2 Corinthians 6:10 says, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” Those two words “possessing everything” are the key to finding joy in all things.
The Secret Of Being Joyful Always
You see, as Christians, we can find joy in all things because we possess Christ, and no one can take Him from us. Not only that, but Romans 8:28 gives us the comfort that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” If we remember that, we will be able to find joy even in the most difficult times.
And on the days we just don’t feel joyful, we can find joy in all that Christ has done for us and look forward to better things in the Life to come. As Oswald Chambers said, “A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it.”
The joy of the Lord is simply the joy that we have in Christ. This joy comes from knowing Christ, abiding in Him, and being in His Word and in prayer.
The Bible Engagement Center did some research to discover what Christians could do to experience victory in their lives. They found that the one thing that is more important than any other in giving Christians victory is engaging with God’s Word four times a week or more.
The head researcher said, “The statistical correlation between reading your Bible four times a week or more, and living in victory, is stronger than the statistical correlation between smoking and lung cancer.”
Isn’t that amazing?! Being in God’s Word and seeking Him is so, so important! As Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy.”
A Word From Spurgeon
In closing, I will leave you with some words of Charles Spurgeon. He speaks of what Christ has done for him and expresses his joy in Christ.
“For God to pity me I can understand; for God to condescend to have mercy upon me I can comprehend; but for Him to love me…for the infinitely great to love a worm, is matchless, a miracle of miracles! Such thoughts must comfort the soul.”
Now, dear readers, let us “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)