Thursday, July 03, 2014

J is for Joy

I woke up from a troubling dream this morning and had a hard time finding joy. The dream was somewhat apocalyptic and I was essentially alone--no husband and no children. I woke up thinking, would I have joy if I was physically all alone in the world? I don't like to think about these sorts of things. I usually push those kinds of thoughts away because who wants to think about depressing things like that anyway?

But I found it was a worthy question for me. Where do I find my joy?

Galations 5 tells us, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." 

"Fruit" here is defined as "the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields" and also as "that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result." So joy, the joy I should have every day, should not be based in my circumstances--it is a gift that originates out of the Spirit of God to those who are believers.

What do we do with that gift?

The Greek word here for "joy" is "chara" and it's outline of Biblical usage is:

1. joy, gladness
  A. the joy received from you
  B. the cause or occasion of joy
      i. of persons who are one's joy

The root word is "chairĊ" and its outline of Biblical usage is:

1. to rejoice, be glad
2. to rejoice exceedingly
3. to be well, thrive
4. in salutations, hail!
5. at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute

To rejoice exceedingly in the joy given to me from the Spirit. Am I doing that every day? But what about when life is hard? Do we have joy in these times? From where does our joy come?

This is what struck my heart in this study:

"...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."

That's from Hebrews 12:2 and offers us another perspective entirely on joy. That's not the kind of thing I think about when I think of the term, joy. Do you? That Jesus went to the cross for the joy that was set before him and endured that for me. Do I have any reason not to be joyful? Even the worst things in my life have not come close to the cross.

It is humbling, isn't it?

So while I hope the worst of the worst doesn't happen to me, there is joy even then.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
-Psalm 126:5-6

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1 comment:

Michele said...

Wow, something about dreams this week- I woke up in a frump this morning that I have had a hard time shaking. Thank you for the reminder that our joy should come from Jesus, not our present feelings or circumstances.