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I Have Joy

I Have Joy

Deep, Interwoven, and Unmistakable Joy in the Lord 

By Mitchell Powers 

Society in America has dropped by half in rates of happiness. From a surveyed 35% of Americans reporting that they are happy in 2018, to only a 14% American population reporting that they are happy in 2020. [1] COVID-19 has been a challenge for most people and has challenged people’s happiness. But, in the Christian perspective, joy is not determined by circumstance but rather is a constant and consistent attitude granted by Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. 

After all, we’ve heard it before that the fruits of the spirit are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…” and the list goes on. [2] Paul made a remark in several locations in the New Testament literature where he said that joy is in the Lord and that one should rejoice in the Lord. Joy is deeply rooted in Paul’s conviction of one being content in all things. 

Diane Cope, a scholar, wrote that “Paul knows that in the midst of turmoil, grief, or happiness there is an inner peace and joy that is available only to the Christian.” [3] This idea from the writings of Paul suggests that our joy in life is not from our circumstance or situation—rich, poor, connected, lonely—but rather from a true and deep gift from God that is obtainable through the Holy Spirit. 

Students gathered together to worship outdoors are filled with joy as they intentionally commune with God. Photo from ASWWU.

However, it is through a relationship with the divine in our lives that bears fruit to that of the Holy Spirit. As John wrote, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” [4] 

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So for Paul, a man often trapped in prison or beaten brutally, joy couldn’t be circumstantial but only truly from a deeply rooted relationship with God. The very same is offered to us. If you are down, anxious, depressed, or something has stolen your joy, find a home in Jesus and tap into the deep well of love that comes from the relationship with Him. 

References 

  1.  Lush, T. (2020, June 16). Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years, poll finds. Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-health-us-news-ap-top-news-racial-injustice-0f6b9be04fa0d3194401821a72665a50  
  1. Galatians 5:22, NIV 
  1. Cope, D. (1997). Clothed with joy. Leaven, 5(3), 9–11. https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/leaven/vol5/iss3/4/ 
  1. John 15:5, NIV 
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