Joy is the second quality listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit. If I am a Christian, yet find that joy is lacking in my life, it cannot be the fault of the giver. God’s gifts to His children are given liberally. Therefore, if there is a lack of joy in my life, I must search for the cause within myself.
If we seek to be happy, to have joy in our lives, we will not find it through positive thinking or an enhancement of our self-esteem. The apostle Peter gives some pretty basic instructions. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Peter 3:10). In other words, our happiness (or joy) will not come from pointing out the faults and weaknesses in others, or by disguising our true nature, but by doing all that is in our power to honestly be at peace with everyone.
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5). “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Why do the Scriptures speak of a connection between tears and joy? Isn’t it for the simple reason that if we harden ourselves to painful emotions we grow a shield around our heart and the joy that God wishes to give us cannot penetrate that shield?
Worry has a very insidious way of robbing us of joy. I am very concerned about brother so and so, or sister so and so, their attitudes, the things they are doing. I am concerned about the political situation, about health care, about the rise of false religion and occult practices, about the decline of spiritual life in the church. There is so much to be concerned about that it just wouldn’t be right to put on a happy face and say that I am living in the blessings of God, would it?
Let’s look at it this way, worry and concern are close kin to unbelief. The reason that things are so bad around me is that so few people truly know the joy that God gives. If I let their unbelief hinder me from experiencing the joy of the Lord, I am part of that problem. A BIG part.
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” Psalm 51:12-13).