Joy is not some allusive and mysterious something you can’t find or get. It is also, not so easy to find and experience that you can just find it at any convenience store on the way home. Joy is often experienced when other important realities are present.
In John 15 and 16 Jesus connects the idea of abiding and finding joy to prayer. Here is how that works. Jesus said, “Love and stay close to me, I will give you joy and then you should ask for whatever you need.” We do it in opposite order. We ask Jesus for things we need, then promise to follow and love him. Here is a mystery of the Kingdom of God… When you love and stay close to Jesus, we begin to want to obey and follow and THEN… here it is… what we think we need and ask for changes. Why? Because we realize that we already have everything we need and it’s all going to be alright. As a result we ask for things like greater love, peace and joy, rather than asking God for temporary things to make us feel better.
When we learn how to hang out with Jesus, we find out that love, joy and peace are always at the party. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11(NIV)
Joy and Pain
Jesus would go on to describe how this works again in John 16:21-24. I love this… Jesus tells a story to his disciples about being pregnant… come on Jesus! He said that a woman experiences extreme pain as she gives birth to her baby and then something amazing happens… the pain is overshadowed by the joy she experiences. He says, “I will be going away and you will be really sad. Then I will be back, and you will be extremely happy – full of joy.”
The truth is that all of life is full of joy and pain. The real question is… What are we clinging to, joy or pain? We all have a choice to experience joy, or to allow the pain that we feel to stay stuck in our hearts and minds. We might feel like joy is an unattainable luxury like a nice house or a new car. Whereas pain is that unwanted relative that moved in and won’t leave. The truth is that you, not your external circumstances, hold the key to unlocking the gift of joy in your life.
We live our lives in this weird pursuit of trying to stop pain so we can find joy. But what if the joy we long to experience is found in the pain and staying close to Jesus and not found in pursuing pleasures and calling them joy?
The Joy of Abiding
We think joy is like the sun rise and the sun set. It comes and goes day to day. But joy (like God) is the sun, it never stops shining and bringing light. Only our ability to see it and feel its warmth is limited by us and our perspective.
If you have trusted Jesus with your life and you have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you, it never left you but your access and awareness of it might have become hidden. You just have to figure out and remember where you left it. We treat joy like something you can just pick up at the store on your way home from work. You don’t need to run to the store for something that is already have in your pantry… Just find it, pull it out, open it up and enjoy!
Find Joy & Share it!
We do not despise the night, or even pain because that darkness only magnifies the light that much more. Extreme Joy often follows Extreme pain. The next time you ask yourself or God, why?!!! Reminder yourself that joy comes in the morning!
In John 15 Jesus said, “No greater love exists on this earth than for someone to lay down their life for another.”
Hebrews 12:3 Says about Jesus, “For the JOY set before him endured the cross!” Jesus endured pain to give you life which brought him and us great joy. YOU are his joy and he has given you his joy… Find it and share it!