I’m super excited to introduce to you a guest post by my friend, Josiah Krause. Yes, I’m letting a boy write in my journal- it’s kind of a big deal. We’re turning a new leaf here:) The reason for this anomaly is that I really appreciate Josiah’s thoughts on joy and his desire to live out his love for the Lord every day. I first posed the question, “What is joy?” to Josiah a couple weeks ago… and then I went on to barrage him with other questions like… “What’s the difference between joy and happiness? Is there one? Is joy the same as pleasure? What do you or others seek joy in? Can God really be where our joy is found? What does that actually mean and/or look like?” It was a hefty challenge, but I think he rocked it. Check out his insight…
Over the past year I have struggled to fully understand the concept of joy. Although I would describe myself as a very content person, I hesitate to freely admit I am a joyful person. Upon realizing this, I was recently told joyfulness is simply amped contentment. Typically, I’m content in my life and I become joyful when engaged in the lives of others.
One thing I believe leads to our joy in Christ is having the Holy Spirit indwelling within us to the extent we are much more attuned to what we have as apposed to what we don’t have. At one point in this ongoing struggle to understand joy, I witnessed how easily the Holy Spirit can talk to us when we are open to listening…
…I was at the China Buffet having lunch with several family members after church and saw a family in which the husband and wife were blind. Their daughter would assist them in getting food and the couple had two guide-dogs lying at their feet while they had lunch. My heart broke…
I struggle to understand joy yet the Lord has been merciful on my life and has enabled me to see. In my sinfulness the God of the universe, by his grace, has spared my very life…what other reason do I possibly need to be joyful!?
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.” –Psalm 91:1
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” –1 Timothy 6:6
I think when God looks at my heart he sees joyfulness, yet many times I struggle to see through the complexity of my own life to my heart, where true joy is found in Christ. In our culture it may appear we agree there is a difference between joy and happiness yet we can deny the evidence of joy if there is not an external expression of happiness that follows.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his statue, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
Happiness also appears to overshadow a lack of contentment, in that we may express happiness to conceal a broken and bitter heart.
“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” -Proverbs 14:13
We must not forget that sometimes we must also fight for joy in the midst of suffering- always rejoicing in fact that we are becoming more like Christ.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:12-13
How would you define joy?
Contact Josiah: firstname.lastname@example.org