Read: Psalm 51:12
I can remember the songs I learned in church as a child. There is the classic “Jesus Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, and “Deep and Wide.” But, one of my favorites was a song about joy… “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? (Shouted loudly and with great enthusiasm) Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” Even when I sing it now, I feel joyful! But, my joy doesn’t come from a song. It comes from the Holy Spirit. Joy is the second piece of fruit that we need in our fruit bowl.
Most people relate joy with happiness. But, it is important to know that joy is not constant happiness. There will be many times when you are not happy at all, but you CAN still have joy if your foundation is Jesus Christ. With that foundation comes the gift of the Holy Spirit which makes this fruit available. Jesus definitely demonstrated joy in his 33 years on earth. One of my favorite writers T. W. Hunt said, “At times Jesus knew joy derived from the occasion. He obviously enjoyed the fellowship of Lazarus, Mary and Martha in their home in Bethany. Nevertheless, Jesus’ highest joy was a constant experience. It did not depend on circumstances, but on a deep reality of His being.”
Sometimes it feels like we lose our joy. That has happened in my life, and it was usually during a trial or a crisis. But, we really don’t lose the joy because we don’t lose the Holy Spirit. It just deflates within us, much like a balloon deflates when the air goes out. The balloon doesn’t disappear, but it’s fullness does because the air is gone. Rest assured that Satan is a part of this picture as well. His constant goal is to render us ineffective for Christ. I think one of the ways he attempts to do this is to try and steal our joy. He strives to steal our joy in a variety of ways…by keeping us incredibly busy, tempting us with sin, convincing us to have a critical spirit, or persuading us to have self-doubt.
Almost 12 years ago Satan did his best to steal my joy. He did it by planting self-doubt which led to a mild state of depression for me. It was a time when I stayed on my face before God and begged for Him to restore my joy. God clearly wanted to teach me several things which he did over the next few months before I felt like myself again. The key thing He taught me was to be more dependent day by day, minute by minute on Him. It is tough to be joyful in tough circumstances. But remember, the joy doesn’t come from our efforts. It comes from the Holy Spirit.
So, if you feel like your joy has leaked out, how do you get it back? First, admit to God that you have allowed it to deflate. Second, ask God to restore your joy. Spend time with Him. Nothing can draw you to God faster than intentional time spent in prayer and in His Word. And finally, be obedient. Psalm 51:12 says, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.” This verse gives us proof that our joy and our obedience are connected. A life without the joy that only Christ can bring feels very empty. Stay close to God, and He will produce the fruit of joy!
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