What is our joy?
1 Thessalonians 2:19
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?"
True joy is not found in any type of earthly circumstance or position. Let us consider Jesus who came to save His people, yet He was despised and rejected; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He was not greatly esteemed and He had no place to lay His head on this earth (Luke 9 58).
This was not a good situation to be in. The circumstances were not great. People seeking to kill Jesus all the time. People mocking Him and continually rejecting and ridiculing Him. If we are honest with ourselves, when someone even says one bad thing about us or mocks us and embarrases us in front of others, we take great offence and completely lose our joy and contentment in life. We even become angry and bitter because of this, thinking, ‘who do they think they are?’
Yet our Lord and Saviour found it to be a joy set before Him to endure the cross on your and my behalf (Hebrews 12:2).
So the question we must each answer in our heart is this, ‘what is our joy?’ Is our joy based on earthly position and possessions, in what we have or don't have or in whom we feel we are or wish to be? Or is our joy simply a reflection of the faith of Christ within us - that is, the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen? (Hebrews 11:1)
Maybe the question should not be so much ‘what is our joy’? But ‘who is our joy’?
True joy is not a natural thing for us. Rather, true joy is actually a fruit of the spirit of Christ, it is a spiritual thing. It is not about what we have but about who Christ is and what He is inside of us. And greater is He that is in us than he and all the circumstance that is in the world.
So may we know the true joy and love of Christ today, not because of any circumstance in our lives, but because it is a fruit of the nature of the spirit of Christ abiding in us.
Additional scriptures for reading:
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
2 Corinthians 1:23-24
Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.