The Joy Journey

 by Kelly Russell / CCM Melbourne Florida

When you think about the word “joy”, what comes to mind? Some say a new baby, a wedding, or even a beach day. In both the Old and New Testaments, “joy” is described as gladness, delight, or pleasure. Let’s take a journey of joy through the scriptures.

Joy dates to the Kings and Prophets, as they fought battles and the Lord gave them victory. These men faced numerous and monumental trials. The same God Who was with them, is with us! We don’t rejoice in the trial itself, but we can be joyful while we’re going through it.

The writers of the Psalms and Proverbs speak of joy in contrast to despair. Weeping may come at night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Surely, we’ve all experienced sorrow. King Solomon reminds us there’s a season for everything. But the joy of the Lord is in every season.

Of the minor prophets, Nehemiah said, “…The joy of the Lord is our strength (v. 8:10). But is it? If you are in Christ, His joy is in you. In simplest terms, His presence and His power strengthen us beyond any human endeavor.

The Gospels start with joy in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:47). And it’s John 15 that clarifies the joy of Jesus. When we abide and obey, we’re told His joy will remain in us and will overflow!

In the epistles, Paul says to rejoice, in plenty or in want. And then James exhorts us to count all trials as joy, so our faith becomes mature. As Jesus prepared for death He said, “For the joy set before me, He endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2) He suffered, died, and was resurrected for you. His joy was finishing the work of the Father. Why? So, our joy would be c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e (John 17:13).

Next, Galatians 5:22 shares how the love of Jesus includes the fruit of joy. Salvation and joy are a package deal. We have joy because Jesus loves us; that should be enough. But there’s another noteworthy reason Christ followers should have joy: their names are written in heaven! Joy—we can’t explain it or produce it. We just walk in joy now and we live in joy forever with these words: “…enter into the joy of your lord.” Let your joy be full of glory today, for soon you will see Jesus face-to-face.