Joy, the word is used in the Bible some 182 times in some 170 verses. Do you ever think about your joy? Joy is the emotion we feel in response to realizing what God is doing in our lives by his grace. And it is proportional to your understanding and thankfulness for God’s grace in saving you. Ps 5:11 says, “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.”
“Joy is produced by the Holy Spirit, as He causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.” John Piper
So often our joy rises and falls, not in proportion to our thoughts about God, but because of worldly circumstances. It’s the external things like getting a new car, buying a new house or celebrating a season of the year that tend to produce joyful feelings in us. And while these things are good, as they are wonderful gifts from God, sometimes the gifts can start to overshadow the Gift Giver. In our sin we are prone to be more happy about what we receive and gloss over the One who gives it. It takes continual work to maintain the right perspective about God’s priority in all of it. And when we do, the joy we feel about who He is in our life will work itself out in our responses to the circumstances of life and with the people we’re around. Make no mistake, it takes concentration and repetitious work on our part to remember this, but doing so yields a wonderful crop of joy. And isn’t it true that we seem to be more grateful and joyful when we get the things we really want, but have a case of “spiritual amnesia” when we are the recipients of those things that don’t seem quite so wonderful in the moment? It seems inconceivable that things can seem to “go wrong” in our lives and yet we would make the choice to be joyful. If we have trusted Christ, our joy must be a conscious decision to remember what we have been saved a concentration on God’s grace in saving us.
When we decide to concentrate on who we are in Christ and what we have because of His grace extended to us sinners (Eph. 1 :3-14), it raises our spirits and gives us joy that works itself out in joyful action in our life. We can have joy in following Christ no matter what is happening. The remedy for how we feel in the trials of life is to remind ourselves and remember who we are in Christ. Paul echoes this joy in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The fact is, that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Thomas Watson said, “Joy is not a mere imagination; but is rational, and it arises from the feeling of some good, as the sense of God's love and favor. Joy is so real a thing, that it makes a sudden change in a person; and turns mourning into melody.” And may we have joy when we remember Him in all our circumstances and as we have gratitude for His grace in our lives.