A guest speaker came to our church in Castile, NY many years ago. He made a statement I'll never forget. He said, "Even if I hadn't met your pastor, I'd know who he is. He's the one with the glory face." He was right. Our pastor was a joyful man of God whose face reflected that fruit of the Spirit. No, he wasn't giddy or a laugh a minute. His joy was the real deal kind.
It's more than happiness. It's more than a smile. It's all rather illusive and hard to define sometimes. Emotions can be tricky business, and we sometimes tend to discount them. True joy is much more than emotion, but emotion is part of it. There's nothing wrong with joy actually showing up on your face, in your step, or your actions.
The Greek word for joy in the New Testament is chairo which means "to rejoice, be glad, be well, to thrive." Sounds healthy, doesn't it? Fruit is good for you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22 NIV
Here are some things I'm learning about joy.
Joy is strong.
"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10 NIVJoy isn't transitory--it will last forever.
The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. Psalm 22:26 NLTAngels experience joy.
...as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:7 NLT
Joy shows up in unlikely places. It's not dependent on circumstances.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 NIVGod experiences joy.
But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him." Matthew 17:5 NLT
God is joyful about me.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. Jude 1:24 NLT
I love that old gospel song that sings it out --"it is joy unspeakable and full of glory....oh the half has never yet been told." Don't waste another minute. Get your joy on and thrive!
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4 NIV