We all want our share of happiness. We all want to feel like it’s worth getting out of bed in the morning, that the day holds something good for us.
Yet for many life is a daily battle just trying to keep your head above water. The issues of life can seem so overwhelming that you are on a constant state of fearful alert, just waiting for the next wave to hit. This is more than unhappiness, this is exhausting… and it is so dis-empowering. It is like going through life without any control – a victim of whatever the new day might bring.
Is it possible to live joyfully in such circumstances ? How do we get joy ? Is it simply that some people have better lives than others, so they have more reason to be joyful ?
It’s interesting that Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, but not a gift of the Spirit. In John 15:5 Jesus says ” If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit…” the implication is that we do not produce fruit by trying hard to, we produce fruit by abiding in Jesus. It follows then that we do not obtain joy by pursuing it, but by abiding in Jesus.
If joy is a by-product of abiding in Jesus, then perhaps we should stop asking Him for it, and simply learn how to abide in Him. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t talk to Jesus about the concerns we have in our lives, but we must learn to rest in His goodness, once we have brought our needs to Him.
It all comes down to where we see ourselves in respect of the cross.
Gal. 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me”, Heb. 12:2 says “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross”.
If we see not only our sins, but also our troubles and needs as crucified with Christ – then we enter into the fruit of the cross… Joy. It is ours by just abiding in Him, all of our circumstances were touched in that moment when He died the cross – it was like a flash of the eternal life of Jesus touching all of the history of mankind. Eternity overcame time.
In contrast, if we see our troubles and needs as yet to be touched by God, then we hope for a divine act in the present.
We need to learn that all of the blessings and favour of God were released to us at the cross, we enjoy them today by abiding (resting, trusting) that His blood was enough.
Joy is as close as resting in Jesus.