Written by: Brina SUttle
Founder & Writer, Dear Christian Sister
Paul tells us that we are to "Rejoice in the Lord, always." Through the trials of life, it isn't always easy to have a joyful heart that rejoices in God. This can feel like an overwhelming task.
But biblical joy is a state of being, a fruit of the Spirit. We can't just muster up this joy from within our selves. It's super natural. It's a gift from God, given to us through the Holy Spirit.
Isn't it so freeing when we understand that it is not of ourselves? When I think about this, I feel as if a weight has been lifted. I can't muster up the joy of the Lord, because it is His joy, not mine. I am wholly dependent upon Him and His grace.
This is why we can be joyful in suffering. We all know someone who has experienced the loss of a spouse or child, received a terrible diagnosis, or is struggling financially, who is still able to rejoice in the Lord. My great-grandmother is 103 years old. She has lost all her siblings, her husband of 70+ years. Due to a stoke years ago, she lost function on the right side of her body. She can no longer walk, and sometimes struggles to get her mouth to say the words she is thinking.
And yet, she is the most joyful, faithful, godly woman I have ever known. She is always kind. She loves the Lord. She depends on Him completely. Although she would love to be called home and live forever with her Savior, she fully trusts that God still has a purpose for her on this earth. God continues to provide for her and continues to supply her with joy in His promises.
R.C. Sproul writes that we can still be joyful in our mourning, in our sadness, our pain & suffering. "This is because the person’s mourning is directed toward one concern, but in that same moment, he possesses a measure of joy." Our joy is not dependent upon our circumstances.
One of my favorite hymns is "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." The first verse & chorus are as follows:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
We receive joy from the Lord, but we also rejoice in Him. We rejoice in His promises to us. We rejoice in His faithfulness, His loving-kindness.
As I said before, biblical joy is not something from within ourselves. It is given by the Holy Spirit. But we can take specific steps to orient our hearts and our minds to the Lord.
If you are having trouble rejoicing today, I encourage you to PRAY! Ask the Lord for a joyful heart. Ask Him to make apparent to you His glory. Cry out to your Creator. Cling to Christ and orient your heart to Him.
And READ! How will we know who God is if we ignore His Word? How can we rejoice in His promises if we don't know what they are? Even if it's just listening to the audio, hearing the Word of God turns us toward our Creator. It brings us comfort. It brings joy to hear what God has done for us. Rejoice in the Lord.