What Is Joy?

Inspired partly by some recent remarks by my pastor, and the studying I did to teach for our Shepherding Group tonight, here’s a list of definitions for true, Christian joy. The older I get, and the more I grow in my faith, the fight to have joy in God really seems to be the central fight. If my joy in God is big, sin looks far cheaper, and the day-to-day minutiae of life is invested with glory.

Here’s the text I studied this week:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(James 1:2-4 ESV)

And the kind of joy in God that Scripture talks about, that comes even and especially through trials, is as follows:

  • Joy is happiness that runs deep (via Jordan Bakker)
  • Joy transcends temporary circumstances
  • Joy is fixed on a proper object, outside of myself, that doesn’t change (which must be God, in Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change). We’re created to find our source of joy in God – He made us for Himself.
  • Joy is paradoxical, in that you can have great joy and still greatly grieve. But there’s hope in the grief.
  • Joy is a sweet and serious happiness
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