This past weekend, I got to spend two days with over one hundred high school students for our Winter Camp. This past weekend also happens to be one of my favorite weekends of the year. I love high school students, so naturally, any time I am trapped with them for an extended period of time it is going to end up being one of the best points of the year. This year while at camp, we spent Saturday morning running different seminars for the students to attend on different topics. This year I was fortunate enough to get to speak on one of these seminars. My topic of choice? Finding joy in our relationships with God.
As I pondered over the topic the days leading up to the weekend, I was filled with excitement. Joy is one of those mysterious things that I believe has a very distinct line dividing itself from happiness, or any other emotion. Also what makes joy so mysterious is I believe that we spend a majority of our time trying to find where that line is, because it can be buried and lost in the distractions of our lives. I wanted to take a few moments and share with you guys my thoughts on joy. Without a constant joy from the wellspring of life Himself, we can find ourselves struggling in everything. Yet with joy, we can live in harmony with our Creator.
Joy is a heart condition. Joy is a state of mind. Joy isn't something you necessarily feel, something that is circumstantial, something that occurs when you feel good. Can joy be paired with emotion? Can joy stem from happiness, from times of success, from experiences? Absolutely. But joy is so much more than that. Why? Joy comes from the Lord, and the Lord alone. There is nothing in this world that can bring you the amount of joy that Jesus can.
Look at King Solomon in Ecclesiastes. He spends chapters explaining that everything has left him empty in this world. That there is nothing else besides Jesus. Joy is paired with Jesus. Look at the Apostle Paul. He spends a huge chunk of his life as a believer behind bars. Yet he still finds joy in all of his life. Look at Philippians, or really any of his letters. They are filled with joyful prayer and rejoicing in Christ. Joy is still paired with Jesus.
- "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23
When the Holy Spirit fills your soul, you are granted joy. When you find yourself trusting in Him, when you find yourself full of contentment in His hands, when you seek truth, wisdom and knowledge for your life from His power, you are granted joy. When we are one with the Lord and find our faith fully in Him, joy isn't something we are going to feel, but joyful is something that we will be.
The past year of my life has been incredibly challenging, yet so rewarding at the same time. Everything from losing a great friend who I was blessed to know for such a short amount of time (#LoveMoore), to making a completely different lifestyle and career path choice, it has been one change after another. I wasn't always full of joy. I wasn't always leaning on the One who can repair my heart. But as I prepared for this seminar, as I pondered over joy and our Lord that gives it to us, I felt at ease. I felt calm at heart. I felt joyful. Jesus will continually mold me for the rest of my life, but I have been feeling His joy, even when I am not feeling the happiest.
Let me tell you, I wouldn't trade this joy I have for a lifetime of happiness. Why? It's simple, joy is paired with Jesus.