Joy--by Kimberly B. Southall
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Luke 2:10Joy is defined as "intense and ecstatic or exultant happiness" or "the expression or manifestation of such feeling." Everyone desires to experience joy, but not everyone knows how to obtain it. The Bible gives us the answer. Joy is possible for everyone, for Christianity is a religion of joy! Yes, Christianity is a religion of joy. Why is that?

Jesus was anointed with joy (Hebrews 1:9). He died a cruel death to redeem us from sin, because providing salvation for us gave Him joy (Hebrews 12:2). And now that He has defeated sin and death, it gives Jesus great joy to present us without fault to God (Jude 1:24). Therefore, we can see that Jesus Christ did everything for us due to His joy. Isn't that wonderful?

Now, what about us? What reasons do we have to feel joy or rejoice?

With all of these wonderful reasons to rejoice, we can see why Christianity is a religion of great joy! We can experience joy in all circumstances-good and bad. What a wonderful Savior we serve-He can give us joy no matter what!

God's Word commands us to rejoice (Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). But just how can we obtain this wonderful joy?

First, we must know the source. Joy is from God (Acts 14:14-17). More specifically, joy comes through the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Second, we must know what specific actions on our part bring joy. These include belief in God (Acts 16:34), trust in God (Romans 15:13), obedience to God (John 15:9-11), sharing the Word (1 John 1:1-4); leading others to Christ (Luke 15:3-7; Luke 15:8-10), seeing others receive salvation and stand firm (Philippians 1:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 3:9; 2 John 4; 3 John 3), growing in Christ (Philippians 1:25-26), being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:49-52), fellowship with other Christians (Romans 15:31-32; 2 Timothy 1:4; 2 John 12), unity with other Christians (Philippians 2:1-4), receiving the love of other Christians (2 Corinthians 7:5-7; Philemon 7), persevering in times of trouble (Acts 5:41; Romans 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 7:4; 2 Corinthians 8:2; Colossians 1:24; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:13), and giving one's life for Christ (Philippians 2:17-18). Not only can we obtain joy for ourselves, though, but we can also contribute to the joy of others by being obedient to God (Romans 16:17-19; Hebrews 13:17), working with other Christians (2 Corinthians 1:24), and sharing joy with other Christians (2 Corinthians 2:3).

Wow! That's a lot to think about, isn't it? Joy is available for everyone. It is Jesus Christ who has made it possible. What a Savior! Following Christ isn't an exclusive religion for a chosen few, it is a means of experiencing joy--and it is for everyone! Now that's reason to rejoice!

Copyright © 1999 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.