The Joy of the Lord. What does it truly mean to me? Personally, I have had my fair share of frustrating/embarrassing/awful moments in life. You know, that sort that breaks you down, tears you apart like no other. That said, what is a Christian’s outlook on this? To have the joy of the Lord does not mean that I feel happy all the time. Being happy is different from having true joy in the Lord. I am human, and I do have feelings and emotions. There are times when I feel sad, angry, or frustrated. Having joy in the Lord is when I can say that despite trying/adverse circumstances, I am thankful to Him. It is when I have eternity’s values in view. It is to recognize that all things happen for a reason. Even though I may be embarrassed, frustrated, astonished, and in disbelief by a circumstance, I know that He puts me through this for a reason, He will see me through it, He is in control of all things, and that nothing matters more than Him. This is when I can say, that I have the joy of the Lord.
That said, I never meant for the paragraph above to be permission for me to get upset, when met with difficult circumstances, and do things that are contrary to what God wants me to become – more Christlikeness, and more humility. There is still a need to strive for a better Christian testimony towards others. A Christian’s life after Salvation, is the beginning to a life full of Learnings (sanctification). It is a journey to become better and better, in terms of bearing fruit for God. In Galatians 5:22-23, it says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” It is recognising that I am not perfect. I want to seek perfection, and I know that I can only do it with Christ’s strength. I want to be more longsuffering, have more faith, be more humble etcetera. And through it, God will teach me along life’s way, how to become what He wants me to be. He may send more trials that test my patience - to teach me to be more patient; and the list goes on (God's Help with self-help is the best help - God's Sovereignty, human responsibility). At the end of life’s journey, God will give me perfection (glorification). And then, I will be with Him in paradise. What a wonderful thought! What a delight.