• Kent Brandenburg

Joy and Sorrow

When people think of joy today, in general they think of things that will make them happy. They are having a good day, which means that lots of good things have been happening. They may even say they’ve had a streak of good luck. That’s actually not what joy is. Joy is a major theme in the Bible. God wants us to have joy. Many times the authors of scripture say that they wrote things so that our joy would be full. Believers are commanded to have joy. The Greek word translated “joy” in the New Testament is not about a reaction to lots of great circumstances. It is an attitude someone possesses and continues through bad circumstances. Living with joy isn’t dependent on circumstances. That is a difference between joy and what we say in the English, happiness. Happiness is based upon happenings. If the happenings are good, then happiness is here. Or if there are more good circumstances than bad, then someone might be able to be happy with the bad happenings, because they are outweighed by the bad ones. Joy though is an attitude that is sustained by the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Holy Spirit is love and then joy. Joy exists even in the midst of sorrows, which most people would probably think as contradictory. Joy and sorrow can and will coexist. Sorrows will come, but joy is an abiding attitude, because it isn’t dependent on circumstances. People will have sorrows, because there are such disappointments and deaths in this life that bring sorrow. Sin itself should bring sorrow. The chastisement of God in Hebrews 12 brings sorrow, that brings also repentance. Joy exists in the life of a true believer, because his focus is on heavenly things, on realities that cannot change. Joy stays because of eternal security, the forgiveness of sin, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and because of heaven.

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