Joy is interesting. Within joy seems to be numerous feelings. Happiness, love, satisfaction, wonder, and excitement, for a start. The great author, C.S.Lewis, in his book Surprised by Joy, portrays it as something almost intangible, suggesting that perhaps joy is creation truly rejoicing in simply being. I like that.
God is joyful. He is the most tangible and real being in the universe. He loves to be alive. An encounter with the Creator Himself is an encounter with Life itself.
I recently went through a very tough season in my life. I led an outreach with one of our Discipleship Training Schools, and numerous events and situations occurred that were not ideal. Despite living in alert mode 24/7 and dealing with numerous crises, I felt more alive than ever before. That famous line from the Old Testament, Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is your strength,” became so real to me. Some days, I had nothing left to give. I felt done, exhausted, fed up. But every single time, I felt Jesus lift my head. “Take courage, Jordan. I have chosen you. Surely I am with you always, to the end.” Overwhelming joy would rise within me, giving me the energy and desire to continue.
Throughout my adventures with the Lord in YWAM, there have been many times where I’ve felt at the end of my own strength. But, regardless of where I am–on a mountaintop in Thailand, riding along dirt roads on a Fijian island at a breakneck speed, in the red light districts of Asia, or in the middle of a wild game of tag in a park in Newcastle, Australia–He always comes through.
Joy is not limited to a specific situation; it’s the relishing of being alive.
I’m not always happy. I tend to slip into cynicism, and my mood can swing from being on top of the world, to the next moment feeling like there’s roughly 6,353km worth of earth on top of me. Despite all that, I can say I am joyful. Because it doesn’t depend on me. I’m best friends with the most joyful Person in the universe.
You know those people whose personalities are infectious? Those really energetically enthusiastic individuals who make you feel like climbing a mountain, ending world poverty, saving the world, and creating a masterpiece worthy of the Renaissance, all before lunch? God has more of the good things about those traits than all of us put together. He’s infectious. If you’re around Jesus, the real Jesus, for more than a few minutes, you realise there’s no one more alive, and therefore no one more joyful.
In whatever situation you live in, there is joy available for you. Galatians 5:22 says joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit reside in your heart? If He does, then all you have to do is choose joy. It’s who He is. Against such things there is no law. A few verses earlier, Paul states, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” Christ set you free from the law by breaking the bondage of sin and death. You are free. Free people are joyful. Take that truth and run with it! Joy is waiting.
Christ, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. Joy must be worth it.
by Jordan Smith
YWAM Newcastle Staff
Jordan (AUS) has been on staff with YWAM Newcastle since January 2015 and is currently working in our Community Life Department. He loves shredding on the guitar, playing basketball, and is passionate about young people discovering their true identity.
This post is the second in a blog series on the fruits of the Spirit by YWAM Newcastle staff and alumni. In the series, each author shares how a specific fruit of the Spirit has impacted their understanding of God’s character. Through these blog posts, we hope to encourage you to look for examples of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your own life.