I had good news. A bunch of it, actually. It seemed the Lord decided to bless my husband and I immensely all at once, in so many ways. As I told my friend, I smiled…and then I moved on.
Instead of praising the Lord with my friend and laughing and simply enjoying the blessings of that day, I took the joy as if it was a trophy and set it on a shelf. On with the day, I thought, onto the questions still left. There were options to discuss and plans to make.
Thank the Lord my friend spoke up. “Soak in the joy,” she said.
Galatians 5:22 tells us that joy is a spiritual fruit. Joy is something that God gives, and it is intended both to nourish us and to produce more within us.
Taking in joy like it’s some vitamin D to swallow instead of sunlight to soak up causes us to miss out on some of joy’s blessings, nourishment, and the effects that follow.
In scripture we learn that joy is intended to last.
As Isaiah 51:1-11 explains:
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord…[you] will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown [your] heads. Gladness and joy will overtake [you], and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
When you let joy overtake you, you get to learn how joy:
Refreshes the heart
Philemon 1:7 describes how love, by giving joy and encouragement, refreshes hearts. Like a breath of fresh air or a glass of cold water on a hot day, joy works to wipe away doubt, worry, and disappointment with the provision and reminder of God’s goodness.
True joy turns the soul from mourning, gives comfort to those who feel empty, and paints anew in us awe and gratitude to the Lord who knows and cares for our hearts.
Fills us up and overflows
In John 15 Jesus talks about joy, but it’s nestled among words about keeping God’s commandments, loving others in true friendship, and bearing spiritual fruit. He says,
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15:11
What does the Lord fill us with otherwise? Peace. Love. Patience. The Holy Spirit. His joy, He says, also fills us up. So much so that we can’t contain the gift He gives. It bubbles over and splashes others. Now that’s fruit –reproducing to create more!
Adorns as a crown
When the joy of the Lord is able to last and thrive within us because we don’t set aside or reserve it for “when we need it,” we also get to have joy adorn us. In fact, as joy fills us up, we glorify God as a crown (1 Thessalonians 2:19.)
Those we love and share in life with witness the radiance of the joy of the Lord and get to marvel at the splendor of our maker, our God (Philippians 4:1.) Joy in our hearts isn’t just nourishing us, refreshing us, filling us, or influencing those around us –joy in the Lord is a beautiful aspect of glorifying Him.
Guard your heart –and the joy that is within it- as a precious gem that reflects the true light.