“To bestow on you the oil of joy instead of mourning” - Isaiah 61:3
Today we come to look at the wonderful gift of joy that God desires to bestow upon us. Several weeks ago (week 36), we learned many helpful things about the joy of the Lord. I encourage you to go back and read this section of our journey together. All of us have a deep hunger in our soul for joy. Happiness and joy are very similar only joy does not depend on our circumstances. It is a deeper state of contentment, peace, hope, satisfaction, and purpose. This means that even if our conditions are very difficult, we can still be joyful. In fact, James tells us to “consider it pure joy whenever we face many kinds of trials” (James 1:3). This is because through these struggles, we can grow in our faith and become more mature. If our ultimate goal in life is to become like Christ and bring glory to God, we can acknowledge that these trials are helping us to accomplish our life goals.
All that being said, no one enjoys facing trials. But Christ came to anoint us with joy in the midst of our difficulties. Having a joyful heart does not exclude taking proper steps to have a healthy body (eating healthy, sleeping enough, exercise, etc.). Our spirit, emotions, body, and mind all work together to bring us overall health. As we pray and ask God how to use our time, He will draw us into healthy relationships and activities. However, beyond what we do to maintain a healthy life, the Lord wants to do a much deeper work of bestowing joy upon us.
Knowing Jesus and the amazing inheritance He has given us fills us with great joy. Sometimes we forget the wonder of our salvation. Ponder all that Christ has done for you and all that He promises to give you for now and forever. Ask the Spirit to fill you with joy. Peter says that “in this your greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6). Come into the Presence of our Lord and meditate on His beauty and splendor that you might be filled with inexpressible joy. Take time to give thanks for all He has done for you and those whom you love.
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” - 1 Peter 1:8-9