When I say the word, joy, what comes to mind? For many, thoughts of childhood memories flood the mind. For others, it may be their wedding day, or the birth of their children or grandchildren. A vast majority of our society may move beyond experiences with loved ones and gravitate towards material things, picturing a car, an investment portfolio or a career they have dreamt about for years.
Some people may grow anxious, or sad when they hear the word joy. Why is this? Becoming widely accepted is the belief that joy is found in the absence of problems, the accumulation of things, the achievement of dreams, or the experience of a lifetime. While these things can make you temporarily happy, it does not stem from true inner joy.
What this world defines as joy and what the Bible describes as joy is diametrically opposed. This world promises that joy is found in stuff, things, people, positions, etc... all material things that will pass away, while our joy is found in the finished work of Christ. We are New Creations in Christ Jesus. Because we are in Christ, we don't have to find our joy in circumstances, other people and their opinions, or things. Because we have Christ, we are being made new daily and have everything we need for life and godliness.
For the Christian who is living under the lie that they can hide their sin, and be joyful, please remember the Gospel which frees us from sin. Running to sex alcohol, pills, or food will not mask the pain of unacknowledged brokeness. The Gospel makes all things new. So when we sin, we have the gift of honest self examination. We can go before the throne of God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and cry out for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). It is not until we are completely honest with God and ourselves that we can experience the joy of the Lord. The pathway to joy is celebrating authenticity.
I am a great sinner saved by far greater grace. God has blessed me with a wonderful family and a beautiful Gospel congregation at Twin Lakes Bible Church.