Do you have joy in your life? Do you ever wonder if you should be experiencing more joy than you usually have? Suppose I told you I could give you a quick, simple, surefire formula to having more joy Would you believe me? Read on and see.
God promises all of us His Spirit at the moment of salvation (1 Corinthians 12:13). One of the many benefits He brings is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Included in this is joy, listed second after love. God provides all believers with joy from the moment of salvation on. If so, why don’t we experience more joy in our lives? I think part of the reason is that we don’t understand what joy is so we look for the wrong thing. The other reason I will explain in the next blog.
Too often we equate joy with happiness. Happiness is dependent on external circumstances. It is a temporary emotion. If real joy came from our environment, the USA should be the most joyful place on earth, for our standard of living is superior to anyone anytime. Yet the rise in depression, alcoholism and drug addiction, divorce and suicide show many are far from happy.
Joy, on the other hand, is a constant, internal state or condition that comes from God. If we are looking for happiness we will be disappointed because God never promised that we would be happy. In fact, the Bible promises just the opposite – times of difficulties to stretch our faith and help us grow spiritually (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:12-13). Joy is an inner peaceful assurance that results from trusting that God is in control of all that is happening. It is having contentment in your spirit despite your circumstances because you know you are in the center of God’s will.
So the first part of my formula for joy is to not be expecting life to be all happiness and pleasurable outer circumstances. Instead, look for the quiet inner state of joy that comes from God, despite what is happening around you. We’ll look at the second part of this formula in the next blog.
James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
Are you guilty of expecting God to give you pleasure now? Are you disappointed when outer circumstances stretch your faith? Ask God to help you look within, to your faith in Him, as your source of joy.
INDIA UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST: I was able to write 2 new books last year and they have been translated and printed in India. They are “Why We Believe (Apologetics)” and “Spiritual Growth and Discipleship.” I would like to write a book about “What God Expects of Churches” soon. There is much confusion about what a church should be and do, so I took an in-depth look at the church in Antioch to find a pattern for us today. Pray the time and money needed to write and publish this book would be available. Pray for the other 7 books and the thousands of copies that have been distributed in southern India over the last 10 years. Pray God would bless them, and the 2 new ones, so people would read, understand and apply them to their lives and ministries. Funds are needed to translate and print new books, as well as reprint past books when we run out. Pray for this need as well. And if you want to read any of these you can download a pdf or ebook version at https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/our-ministries/india/books/ Thanks!
Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization