Once upon a time, I was a moody teenager. I walked around with the posture of a chimpanzee and an unintentional scowl that reeked of forlorn boredom.
Although I am more aware now of my face’s pitiful pose, I realize that the look on my face was not an indicator of my salvation. Although, it could be a representation of my young faith.
A portion of this moody era was my freshman year of high school. Without getting too specific, this year was a year of excitement and fresh opportunity, while yet holding a pinch of frightening, impending moments of unhappiness.
It was living in these moments that while I was sitting at dinner with my momma and step-father, my step-father begged the question,
“What’s wrong with your face?”
Being the temperamental adolescent I was, I responded,
“This is just my face!”
I was dead serious, but my family busted out a hardy laugh. Just like that, I had become a running joke in my family.
This is a lesson I look back on and reflect about often. It makes me laugh in my bad times and stands in the bowels of history as a time I did not let my joy shine through.
Joy is a steady, constant reminder of Christ’s indwelling within the believer. Joy stands as a characteristic of the Christian.
It stands alongside other necessary traits such as grace and peace, although it serves its own special function.
Here are a few notes to consider.
Joy is a Gift of the Lord
In Romans 15:13, Paul reminds the believer of the source of joy. It is of the Lord. The Scripture reads,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”.
Late in the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah finds himself offering consolation to the Jewish people who had good reason to displace their joy. They had a torn homeland and numerous adversaries (Sound familiar with Israel today?).
Yet in the midst of it all, Nehemiah states, “…Neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Joy is a Constant Attribute
Nehemiah had it right. Neglect the importance of happiness and uplift the sanctity of joy through it all.
Joy is much more than happiness. Happiness is fleeting.
The Lord is eternal. He is our source of joy.
It is a constant, patient, rejoicing that abides in the Lord.
In Romans 12:12, Paul teaches on what it means to be transformed in Christ’s grace and what attributes Christian’s should possess.
Paul describes the disposition of joy perfectly in his three step guide to the undeterred Christian. He writes,
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer”.
Furthermore, joy is never a stand alone trait, it is reinforced (Like earlier said) with other fruits.
Galatians 5:22-23 teaches,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”.
Once again, we find joy paired with patience and peace.
Joy truly is a beautiful constant attribute.
Smile! Your Face Can Share Your Joy!
Joy truly is contagious. This is a fact.
Studies as recent as 2020 have shown that a person smiling causes other people around them to see the world in a more positive light.
This secular study only reinforces what the Bible has taught for thousands of years.
Proverbs 15:13 offers,
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken”.
Proverbs 17:22 uplifts,
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones”
Do not take these Proverbs lightly! Truth is truth.
As Christians, flaunt your joy and share the medicine of your Spirit.
Let the world know that Christ is the reason we smile through it all and that is a free gift. A gift freely offered from Jesus Christ who paid the price for it on The Cross (Romans 10:9-13).
Hope this enriches you!