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 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?