– Francis Chan
By God’s Spirit
You can’t even have joy until you have trusted in Christ and received the Holy Spirit as the Apostle Paul wrote that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Gal 5:22), so this joy comes from the Holy Spirit first and foremost as Paul wrote, “you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1st Thess 1:6).
The Joy is a Strength
Thankfully our joy in the Lord doesn’t depend on possessions and we can see that in the 3rd world countries where Christians have nothing…but when they have nothing but Christ, they have all they need. He is their joy, not possessions, because these things shall pass away someday, but the joy will remain forever. Joy is formed in us where most people would find sadness and grief. That’s because they have discovered that the joy of the Lord is their strength (Neh 8:10)…not possessions.
The Joy Ahead of Us
God tells us something that most people might miss (like I did many times) and that is we can endure more in this life if we keep the end in mind, or think of the joy that’s set before us in the coming kingdom (Rom 8:18). The author of Hebrews wrote of Jesus’ suffering so we could better handle suffering and that is found by “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).
The Source of Joy
As we have read, one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Gal 5:22), but Jesus wanted us to possess joy right now…today! He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11), so you and I might “weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). Joy is formed in our weeping and sorrow but our “sorry will turn into joy.”
It is just as Francis Chan said; “The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons of life.” Joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit and it is never found in possessions, so focus on the joy that’s set before us (Rev 21:3-5) and our sorrow and suffering will turn into joy someday. Let that “someday” be today!