As I have experienced significant testing over the past few months I have also experienced a much greater measure of joy and rest in my life. Joy that I am so much closer to God, growing daily in my spiritual walk and discipline. Rest in the reality that God is carrying me through, regardless of how challenging my outward or inward circumstances. God loves it when we find our joy in Him, especially when the world around us is lunging for joy - in all the wrong places.
Instead of writing a few paragraphs on how much God has taught me about Joy (second in the "fruit of the Spirit" list behind love), I'd rather show you some of my favorite scriptures on the topic.
1. The most common verse on Joy:
The Joy of the Lord is your strength.
2. James 1: 2-8
My brothers, consider it pure Joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
3. 1 Kings 1:40
And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
4. Psalm 16:11
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is the fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
5. Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say "rejoice"!
6. Psalm 5:11
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.
7. Isaiah 12:3
Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
8. Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
9. Luke 15:7
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
10. Romans 14:17
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Do you struggle to experience Joy, especially when all of life's pitfalls, trails, and challenges overwhelm you like a flood? Pray that God gives you a real expression of joy! Every situation and atmosphere is changed by the spirit full of joy. God, please teach us to be constant in our rejoicing. Fill our hearts with love and with deep-rooted joy in Your character. Make us like those who can shout for joy, regardless of how depressing our environment. Help us to discover the joy in Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit - fresh and new today. Take us as deep as we can go with you.