Advent Blog Series: JOY
As one way to prepare our hearts for the Christmas season, we are introducing a blog series to examine the four primary virtues of Advent - Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Published on the first four Fridays in December, this third installment examines Joy and is written by Brittney Peters.
What brings you joy?
Food? Family? Good deeds? Getting your bills paid on time? Or is it more like when your favorite sports team wins a game? Maybe your kid getting an A in class? The thing is, all of these things are good things, but as Matt Chandler says, “They make terrible gods.”
So where does true joy come from?
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things there is no law,” Galatians 5:23.
Joy is a fruit of the spirit. These are qualities achieved in those who walk in a way that is dependent upon Him--including joy. The word and emotion of joy here doesn’t come from a store, a gift, a comedy, or even a family member. Joy comes from the spirit.
What’s the difference between being happy over the new Star Wars movie, and the joy that allowed the apostle Paul to rejoice that he was chained to a Roman guard just so that he would have the opportunity to witness to him?
Happiness versus joyfulness. Happiness is a choice; Joyfulness is divine.
So why don’t we experience this kind of joy all the time? Because I know I don’t.
Where is the joy when a loved one passes away? Where is the joy when the doctor says children are impossible? Where is the joy when your students continue to come to you begging for advice on battling drug addiction and sexual abuse because it’s all they know?
We all know there are moments when that joy seems impossible, and days and nights when joy doesn’t enter your vocabulary. Scripture tells us, however, that joy always comes in the morning. Always. It’s a promise. And God never goes back on His word. Sometimes God brings us into a night, to show us the contrast of the radiant morning.
“Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness,” James 1:2-4.
The joy is in Christ, my friends. Joy only comes from Him. Joy doesn’t come from your emotions or your circumstances. True Joy comes from complete satisfaction in the one who created you, died for you, and dwells within you.
Ask yourself, does your joy last when you open up the “perfect-I’ve-been-waiting-all-year-for-this-gift” on Christmas morning, when you say “I do,” or when you finally bring that baby home?
Let me encourage you friend; Joy will come. Satisfaction in Jesus brings joy, not whatever it is you’re longing for, your emotions or your circumstances. True joy comes from complete satisfaction in the one who created you, died for you, and dwells within you.
We’re all waiting or longing for something, and there are days when it seems like those things will never get here. And those things can be good gifts, but remember, they’re terrible gods.
Don’t worship what you’re waiting for. Let go of happiness. Embrace joyfulness.