Pillars of Christian Character: Joy

A Russian countess accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior and was open about her testimony. The Tsar was displeased and threw her into prison. After 24 hours with the lowest level of Russian society, in the most miserable conditions imaginable, he ordered her brought into his presence. He smiled sardonically and said, “Well, are you ready now to renounce your silly faith and come back to the pleasures of the court?” To his surprise, the countess smiled serenely and said, “I have known more real joy and more real happiness in one day in prison with Jesus than I have known in a lifetime in the courts of the Tsar.” She found out what was really the easy way.
Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP) “Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the LORD is your strength and your stronghold.”
In today’s world, people are looking for happiness and joy is all sorts of places. At one point they think they have found it in a relationship or a job or an addiction only for it to melt and fade away because it was a counterfeit joy.
The joy of the Lord is your strength it’s not your joy, it belongs to the Lord and only He can give it to you. This joy is not an emotion that can be faked or fabricated, but rather a fruit of the Holy Spirit that has to be cultivated through fellowship and relationship.
This joy that we are talking about is not dependent on our circumstances because it does not come from circumstances and neither is it affected by circumstances. Just like the countess in our story, remember Paul and Silas in chains and in prison in Acts 16, but they were so full of joy singing songs of praise that the chains broke.
James 1:2 tells us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials, now that is something that is hard to understand if you do not have regular fellowship and a strong relationship with God.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
God gives the joy and we can find it in His presence. In a world where we have glorified money, celebrities and fame it is so easy to lose focus on where the real authentic joy comes from. As the song says, “This joy that I’ve got, the world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away!”
God is the real source of JOY, connect with Him through Jesus Christ and tap into a JOY that has this world baffled!
What are some of the wrong places and things that you have been looking to in an attempt to find joy? What do you need to change so that you can spend more time with God in order to tap into His joy?