John 15:11, Nehemiah 8:10

Valerie Elliot encourages us to know God on a deeper level during these challenging times

Valerie Elliot
Valerie Elliot

It seems that when the word "Joy" is mentioned, happiness comes to mind. It is often described as excitement, happy thoughts, feeling pleased, smiles and laughter - happy expressions. I have come to learn over time that happiness is dependent on external stimuli, while joy, though it produces happy expressions, is not triggered by external factors, rather, it is a state of the heart.

Joy has everything to do with feeling secure, a security In God. Our Lord, Jesus, said to His disciples in John 15:11 "I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing." (AMP) The preceding verses in this chapter speak about abiding in Him and the importance of doing so. He was not just speaking truth and instruction. It was not only about His desire for our obedience and pleasure over us, but it was about us experiencing true joy, in abundance.

Why would we need that much joy? Surely, the privilege of being called His own, redeemed by His blood and given access and an audience with Him in fellowship should be enough. But no! It is important to not only have joy but to have it in full and overflowing because we live in a broken world system that is designed to drain joy out of our lives and create opportunities for great sorrow.

We are living in very challenging times, and I am thankful for the privilege to abide in Jesus. I'm grateful for His truth, love, mercy, grace, power and enjoy His presence. This is the place of joy! Knowing that He is the very source of all that we need to "Be". We were created in the image and likeness of God, to be in close fellowship with Him, to live for His purposes, fulfil our part in His plan and be an expression of Him to all of creation. We can be anchored in joy by getting to know the person of Jesus Christ.

A deeply personal knowledge of Him is what stirs up and keeps joy in us, even in the darkest moments of life. In Him and through Him comes everything that produces the many expressions that we attribute to happiness. Joy is a gift from God to us. A safe place in Him that no external force can reach. I believe Joy serves our lives in these 3 ways:

1. An awareness of God: Joy helps us keep our focus on Him and not be distracted by what is happening around us.

2. Strength of heart: As mentioned in Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV) "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength." When we think of our weakest points in life, joy would be the missing thing. A person who is aware of God as the source of life's solutions, would have joy stirred up in their heart and remain hopeful in God. We can be sad about a situation, yet joyful, because of the Lord's presence with us and our security in Him.

3. Having a God-perspective: it is easier to receive counsel from the Lord, if one's heart is postured to be aware of God's presence, and is being kept strong in heart by the reality of His faithful nature. Seeing things through His eyes would be a chosen way of life. May the joy of the Lord be known to us beyond our greatest imagination.

I pray for overflowing joy in your life always! Amen. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.