In the list of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, joy comes second after love. It is an emotion that all of us would love to carry and many try to capture through striving for things that they think will bring it to them. They look to have material goods or orchestrate circumstances to their favor, but they are looking in the wrong places.
Psalm 16:11 tells us where to find joy: "In Your presence is fullness of joy..." (NAS) Joy is a manifestation of the presence of the Lord. If we want joy, our goal must be to get into the presence of the Lord. How do we do that?
1. Be thankful for the things that God has already done in your life. Look at Psalm 100:4. "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." Not only does our thanks draw the Lord closer to us, but it builds up our joy.
2. Learn to be content in every circumstance. Great respect for God and all He has done for us directs us into contentment. "The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23) Paul shares about his experience of contentment in Philippians 4:12-13. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can to everything through Him who gives us strength." When we are content, it brings joy.
3. Put your hope in the Lord. "...Those who hope in me will not be disappointed." (Isaiah 49:23) Hope fosters joy. Paul tells us in Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope..." Joy and hope travel hand-in-hand.
4. Look for ways to bless others with acts of kindness or unexpected gifts. The Bible tells us this: "A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7) If we intentionally sow joy into another's life, that is what we will reap.
Choose to rejoice in the Lord. Our belief in Him fills us with inexpressible and glorious joy.
(1 Peter 1:8)
Joan E. Mathias