“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Where?” This song brings back so many memories of camp, Vacation Bible School, and Sunday School. The excitement and volume with which we would sing these words proclaimed our understanding of God’s joy being alive in our hearts. That the joy was “down in our heart to stay.”
It seems as we mature into adulthood that our joy becomes muted with the weight of the world and our loss of focus on what is most important. We become busy with all the responsibilities of adulthood and in trying to discover joy in a new hobby, new experience, or in our job, we forget the Truth that joy is not something we discover, but it is something we receive from God. In Galatians 5:22 we read, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” Joy is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.
- Stanley Jones in his book In Christ writes, “Happiness is dependent on happenings, and is therefore occasional; joy is dependent on relationship with Christ, and therefore permanent.” When we surrender our lives to Jesus, he works his joy into our lives as we depend on him. No matter the circumstance, whether happy or sad, we can still have the joy of the Lord in our hearts. Nehemiah, after Ezra the priest read the law of God to the people, spoke to the people, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Do you have the joy of the Lord in your heart? Have you found yourself trying to conjure up joy? Today is a great day to surrender our lives to Jesus, putting our focus back on him. When he is our focus and our purpose for each step of our lives, we will discover his joy welling up in our heart once again. We will discover joy in our good times and in our bad times because we know God is with us.
Prayer: Lord, when I lose my focus on you, I realize my joy is missing in my life. I surrender my life to you because I want my heart to overflow with your joy at work in me. Come Lord Jesus and renew me. Amen.