A spirit-filled life produces joy. If you have openly declared that Jesus is Lord, the Bible tells us you are saved from death and given the gift of eternal life (Romans 10:9), but you also receive the holy spirit. The Bible tells us that when you trust in Jesus, you are filled with the holy spirit who is your helper, guide, and advocate (John 14:16 and Romans 5:5).
Because Christians are spirit-filled, God can work in us to perform His will, and God’s will is always good (Philippians 2:13), which is why 1 Thessalonians 5:16 encourages us to constantly be rejoicing. However, joy isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
To know true joy, we have to understand the foundation of Biblical joy, and we need to make sure we constantly choose joy in our lives no matter our circumstances. When we choose joy, we glorify God and His will, and when we wear Christian-based clothing, we communicate to those around us our connection to God.
The Source of all Joy
Joy is the fruit of the holy spirit, a response to God, the creator of all joy. This joy is spiritually available to all believers, but having it manifest outwardly in our lives requires a choice. While we may equate joy with happiness, happiness is an emotion, whereas joy is a state of being.
In our previous blog, we discussed how to run the race so that we finish well. Part of that race involves glorifying God with joy in our lives. Even if people don’t ask us about our joy, the faith-based clothing we wear can signify that we give God the glory for our joy.
To have real, Biblical joy, we must remember that God is the source of all true joy:
- Every good thing comes from God (James 1:17). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
- No matter what happens, God’s will and purpose are for our good (Romans 8:28). “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Joy and hope come from God through the holy spirit (Romans 15:13). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit.”
Remembering the source of our joy helps us to choose joy, no matter what we’re facing in our lives. We can know that we have a God who loves us, protects us, and wants what is best for us. This joy can’t help but overflow and affect others, and the more we talk about Jesus and wear our Christian-based clothing, the more we can testify to others of God’s goodness.
Produced by the Spirit
In John 16, Jesus describes to his disciples that he is giving them a gift: the holy spirit. He explains that the spirit will guide them and bring glory to the name of Jesus by opening the hearts and minds of Christians to all God has given and is doing for them. Anyone who has accepted Christ is filled with the spirit and has access to this joy.
The Bible lists “joy” as a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22), and the spirit does open our eyes to God’s goodness and faithfulness in all things so that our hearts respond in joy. Even in lonely, discouraging times, we are encouraged in James 1:2 to be joyful even though we may be experiencing distress. The spirit aids and encourages us to be joyful.
The work of the spirit in our lives every day produces joy. With the indwelling spirit, we
- Have a comforter and advocate (John 14:16; 26)
- Are filled with God’s love (Romans 5:5)
- Have power (Acts 1:8)
- Have fellowship with God (2 Corinthians 13:14)
- Renewed minds (Titus 3:5)
- Are overflowing with hope (Romans 15:13) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit.
Just reading a few things that the spirit does for us on a daily basis is enough to produce joy in your heart. Christians characteristically exhibit joy even in troubling times, and we can glorify God by explaining to others how the spirit produces this joy in our lives. We can tell others of Christ’s finished work on the cross and how believing in him gives us eternal life and the gift of the spirit.
However, some people may not ask you about your joy, but even if they don’t ask, they notice. Joyful hearts regardless of circumstances stand out, and people without hope and without the love of God in their lives have a hard time understanding why Christians are so joyful. So even if you can’t talk to others about God, you can still point others to Him by the clothes you wear. Christian-based clothing that represents your connection to God speaks volumes without you saying a word.
Focused on God
We know that God is the source of all joy and that the holy spirit produces it, but without a close relationship with God, you may find it difficult to always be joyful. Philippians 4:4 makes the point emphatically that Christians should be joyful: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” The verse repeats the encouragement to be joyful, and the following steps can help you choose joy no matter what your circumstances may be:
- You need to know God to rejoice in Him. 1 Peter 1:8 confirms, “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” To love God and rejoice in Him, we must get to know Him. Studying God’s word consistently can help you to know Him.
- You need to talk to God to rejoice in Him. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we should never stop praying. Prayer is simply talking to God. When you speak with God about your life—the good and the bad—you can see Him work his will and rejoice in the fact that God is present in your life.
- You need to see God’s goodness to rejoice in Him. God is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). God keeps His promises, and the more you get to know God and His promises, the more you can see His faithfulness in your life. Seeing God work in your life can help you choose joy because you know He is with you every step of the way.
As Christians, we find joy in God’s presence and fellowship with Him. We can tune into this fellowship every day through study the Bible and examining His will for our lives. The more we build our relationship with God, the easier it is to see His goodness, His blessings, and His love, and the easier it is to express true, Biblical joy.