Thursday, January 2, 2014

What is Joy?

What comes to mind when you hear the word joy?  What do you think of when you hear joy?  When I started praying about my 2014 focus word joy was a word that kept coming to my mind. 

The word joy comes from the Hebrew word simchah this is pronounced sim-khaw (Strong's 8057).  Joy is one of several words that frequently occur in the Bible that express exceeding gladness or rejoicing. 

The word joy appears in the Bible 166 times.  That does not include the use of the term in other ways.  You also see gladness, joyed, joyful, joyfully, joyfulness, joying, and joyous throughout the Bible. 

Joy when used in Scripture is usually associated with the people of God, who celebrate God's blessings at a number of occasions, feasts, coronations of kinds, victories from battles and dedications.  In fact, Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28:47-48 that they must serve God with joy so they would not lose their blessing.

Deuteronomy 28:47-48, "Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you."

It was expected that joy and a heartfelt willingness to do His will would be a natural response.

In the Greek we see joy meaning cheerful or calmly happy.  Does this mean that because I'm focusing on being joyful this year that I will always be cheerful?  I honestly do not think that is possible.  I am after all still human.  It is something I am going to strive toward becoming joyful in all circumstances.  I will not let bad circumstances bring me down so far that I forget the blessings God has given me.

Romans 15:13 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

I am going to continue to dig further into the meaning of joy throughout this year.  What exactly does it mean to have joy?


Mary said...

We won't always feel happy or joyful, in fact, I've noticed that sometimes when things have been really hard, through prayers, I've felt a deep sense of peace, comfort, from a realization knowing that despite everything, He is with me, I'm not alone. It's a quiet feeling, but during those moments I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I can't help but feel that our "joy" will be different upon each instance, or occasion... but that's life, and that joy, rather than what first springs to mind when you think about the word, can be a quiet feeling, but one you'll know.

Kristina said...

I have difficulty keeping joy during difficult situations. Like today - frozen pipes, snowed in, no car. So, I give my thanks, pray, and it cheers me up a bit. I can't waste my life allowing emotions to run my life in a negative way.

Julia said...

I'm not always joyful but it's a great feeling to feel happiness, love, contentment and peace.
Joy is such a great gift and sometimes it depends on our frame of mind how we perceive joy and to what degree. Sometimes Joy is also bittersweet. We may rejoice that someone who was gravely ill and suffering has passed on but we miss their earthly presence.

Sometimes I feel immense joy in the tiniest of things. One day I was witnessing my tiny lobelia seeds sprouting tiny leaves, so vert tiny that I needed a magnifying glass to see them and it made me aware of how magnificently God has created the tiniest seed to become a beautiful flower. The flower genetic may have been altered by human hands but God created the first Lobelia and has continued to allow the tiny flower to grow and produce seeds because he cares for his creation... How much more He cares for me.

Happy weekend.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

That verse in Romans is one of my faves! Oh man, I could use some joy too! The Lord is good and He is so faithful to bring it when I need it the most. I want to stew in it and marinate it joy. It is my life-line to a healthy, whole life. Thank you, Lord for your JOY!!!

Great post!