“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21
According to Webster, joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.” It also defines joy as “a very glad feeling; happiness; delight.” I would argue, however, that Webster defines joy from a very worldly perspective. You see, the world says that “to be joyful is simply to be happy.” And so everyone, including most Christians, is living their lives with one main purpose: to find happiness. When your goal is happiness, you will never find it. The things of this world cannot bring lasting satisfaction. And so, I would argue that Webster has not given us a very good definition for joy.
Oswald Chambers said, “Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not.” D.L. Moody once said, “Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the day; joy flows through the night as well as in the day; joy flows through persecution and opposition. [Joy] is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about. The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.”
And so, let me give you a definition of joy, not from Webster’s dictionary, but from God’s Word. I believe that joy is the settled peace, contentment and confident hope that are found only in people who know Christ intimately. It’s the enjoyment of the fellowship that we experience as we live our lives in obedience to God, no matter the circumstances. Joy is a by-product of the Holy Spirit abiding within us. Walter Knight said that “Joy is the flag that flies over the castle of our hearts announcing that the King is in residence today.” And so let me ask you; Is the King in residence in your heart today? If so, then your flag of joy should be flying high for everyone to see! It should be at the top of the mast.