Today I want to break down a few scriptures and show the power of JOY in our everyday lives. If we aren’t careful, the world can try to drag us down. We get distracted by life and everything in it and pretty soon we have lost our joy. (Maybe you never had it.) What is Joy? How do you grow in joy? What is joy for? Today we are going to discuss all of this and more.
Really we are talking about how to receive something from God when things get hard in life. It’s really easy when everything is going great, but what happens when things get hard? How do we receive something from God then?
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.Psalm 126:5 KJV
What is Joy?
Joy is a spiritual force that is different from happiness. Happiness is an emotion, but joy is not tied to a feeling. In fact, joy is tied to a location more than anything else. In Psalms 16:11 it says,
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.Psalm 16:11 KJV
Joy is found by making your location in life close to God. When you get in God’s presence there is fullness of joy. Without joy, you will not see the supernatural manifest in your life. That is why joy is so important.
How do you grow in Joy?
So then the question comes, “How do you grow in joy?” Remember that Galatians 5:22-23 says the fruit of the spirit is joy. Joy is produced by our recreated human spirit when we intentionally spend time with God. Jesus compares us to the branches and says that He is the vine. The vine doesn’t produce fruit – the branches do! But it would be foolish to say that a branch of an apple tree can produce fruit without being attached to the trunk!
It’s the same way with us! Without being attached to Jesus (spending time with Him in worship daily) we are not able to produce the fruit of the spirit that we need for everyday life.
This is the danger that life and the world presents us. We get busy working (or worse yet working on “the ministry”) and we forget that the most important part is to spend alone time with God. Your joy will shrivel up and die! You won’t have any joy about what you are doing.
What is Joy FOR?
So what really is joy FOR? Like I said previously joy is more than happiness. Joy is very closely related to peace in your spirit. When you have joy, it seems like regardless of what comes up in your day there is an answer that seems to bubble up from the inside. You have a song in response to circumstances. Everytime you turn around you are reminded of this scripture or that thing from God’s Word.
What am I saying? When you spend time with God and get in His presence, it starts to rub off on you. That is joy!
Sow in Tears but Reap in Joy
There is something that Roy Sprague used to say, “Prayer makes your petition, but praise gets the answer.”
We know what sowing is right? In Mark 4:14 it says,
14 The sower soweth the word.
When you take time to speak the Word of God over your life (aka “meditate”) daily, you are sowing the Word into your life. But the only way you will ever reap that harvest is with JOY.
You might be having a bad day, week or even a bad year. It might seem like nothing can go right, but the solution isn’t a change of circumstances – it’s a change of heart. The thing is that it takes joy to reap the harvest. You will never see what you want accomplished in God without joy.
“But HOW?” That is the question isn’t it? I want to look at a few really practical ways to build your joy and subsequently reap in a harvest.
Praise, Praise, Praise
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.Psalm 16:11
The first and primary way that you can grow in joy is to spend time with God. Take the time out of your day to commune with God – ALONE. Just you and Him with no one else around.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.Psalm 4:4 KJV
Make sure that you specify a time to worship Him and stick to it. Personally, I believe that you should spend the first part of your morning and the last part of your evening with God. YES I said spend morning and evening with Him. Why? Because whatever you wake up to will set the tone for your day and whatever you fall asleep to will be what you dream of at night. You want both of those things to be God.
Also, make sure that you don’t spend the time with your phone on the table facing you. You don’t want every text message, phone call and email to take you away from what God is saying.
In fact, when you do that it’s almost like going on a date and telling them, “Hang on I have a text from someone else that’s more important than our conversation.” You get the picture and it isn’t pretty. Make sure that your praise and worship time is exclusively just you and Him.
Guard your Heart
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.Proverbs 4:23 KJV
When you DO spend time with God, you will start to see a change in your life. You will start to notice things that aren’t lining up with God’s Word. This is the perfect time to STOP THEM. Guard yourself. Remember this, “Garbage in equals garbage out.” Joy doesn’t come from the outside in – that’s happiness. Joy comes from the inside out. That means whatever you put in needs to be Godly.
It really comes down to this, “How much of God and the joy He brings do you want in your life?” If it’s just a little joy, then go ahead and listen to those songs or watch that TV show! The point is that God isn’t legalistic with you, but if you want the fullness of ALL He has in store for you, then you have to live life in ALL the ways He tells you to.
That means thinking only about the things that are pure and lovely and of a good report (Philippians 4:8).
Obey the Voice of God
Next up really goes right along with the previous point. Make sure that you have peace with everything that you are doing on a daily basis. What am I saying? You can’t tell God, “I want all you have more me, BUT _____” It doesn’t work that way! Either you’re in this relationship with Him or you aren’t.
Think about a marriage. You can’t list out the benefits of the relationship and ignore all the work. You get them both together. There isn’t a relationship on the planet (or in heaven) where you can reap all the benefits without putting in any of the work.
What’s so amazing about Jesus is that He was willing to put forth all of His part in the relationship before we even knew He existed!
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8 KJV
The easy part was believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Now, you actually have to put in work into this relationship. It’s a two way street just like any other relationship. Sometimes we try to make God something that He isn’t. We are made in HIS IMAGE. That means the things we want like friends and family are the same things that God Himself wanted. He isn’t interested in Christians who use Him – would you be? He wants a real relationship free of statements like…
- I have to go spend time with God.
- I need to go pray.
It’s a Compounding Effect
Finally, just keep in mind that it – like nearly everything else in life – is a compounding effect that takes practice. The level that you do the above things will determine what level of joy you walk in. I will say this. When you walk in joy, regardless of how impossible something may seem, you feel like you can leap over mountains and swim across the ocean. Why? Because the well of living water on the inside of you is springing up to life.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.John 10:10 KJV
The thief might come for your joy, but life and it more abundantly will always come from spending time with God. Don’t let the enemy steal what is most important in your life.
Once you have joy, never let it go. Don’t let sin, laziness or anything else that would come against you steal your joy because when the enemy steals your joy he steals your health, peace, love, and everything else.
Time Spent Equals Boldness in God
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.Psalm 91:1-2 KJV
Make your permanent abode with God and then you too will say, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” That is the joy of the Lord truly at work in a believer’s life.