Donna Hoover joins us for this week’s edition of Word Nerd Wednesday with a short word that really packs a punch: Joy.
- a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
“tears of joy”
synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture; Moreenjoyment, felicity, joie de vivre, jouissance; literary jocundity
“whoops of joy”
pleasure, source of pleasure, delight, treat, thrill
“it was a joy to be with her”
verb: joy; 3rd person present: joys; past tense: joyed; past participle: joyed; gerund or present participle: joying
Hebrew Roots of Joy
samah (occurs 150 times in the Old Testament)
*primary meanings “to be glad” “rejoice” with a number of associated forms in a variety of contexts which refer overwhelmingly to the human response of rejoicing.
*the attitude of rejoicing in Yahweh for who He is and what He’s done.
Many people spend much time in search of joy and happiness. A simple Google search for ‘finding happiness/joy’ immediately offers up a plethora of tips, steps, and truths for the happiness-eluded person. Psychology Today provides 5 Proven Truths About Finding Happiness and Two Key Steps to Finding Happiness, while Oprah chimes in with Finding Happiness – How to Beat Depression and Anxiety which announces that circuits in your brain light up when you’re happy, and now groundbreaking research has discovered how to keep them lit. And lastly, there’s the Huffington Post’s 40 Ways to Find Joy in Your Everyday Life.
Seeking to be happy and joyful is a natural human inclination, but there is an often missed distinction between the two states of being. While both are certainly delightful feelings, they are significantly different. Happiness is prompted by favorable external circumstances, and is based on other people, things, places, and events. Derived from outside sources, happiness is both fleeting and fanciful. Joy is an enduring condition which manifests as a result of internal peace with God. Restored relationship with Him brings joy. Let’s take a closer look at the joy that the Lord offers to believers.Let’s take a closer look at the joy that the Lord offers to believers. #joy #wordnerdwednesday @zajac_aol Click To Tweet
There is certainly no shortage of Biblical reference to God’s desire that we be filled with joy. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22 (NIV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
In Nehemiah 8:10b (NIV) it is written “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
And Proverbs 17:22a (NKJV) says “A merry heart does good, like medicine,”
Joy in Purification
With joy being mentioned hundreds of times, it is clearly important to God that we have it, and He has given us instruction on how to invite joy into our lives. Let’s examine four ways you can deliberately draw joy into your life. The latter three will be predicated on this first one, which is to purify your heart and deny your old life of sin.
Galatians 5:24 (NIV) tells us, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
When we are seeking the world, we are not seeking the Lord, and it is only through Him that our joy will be complete. The Passion Bible reveals in common language those things that will get in the way of our relationship with God, and how submission to Him will result in the joy we are seeking.
“16 As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self-life. 17 For your self-life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder Him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self-life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self-life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit. 18 But when you are brought into the full freedom of the spirit of grace, you will no longer be living under the domination of the law, but soaring above it! 19 The cravings of the self-life are obvious: sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, 20 chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions 21 being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their ‘freedom’ for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God. 22-23 But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.”
Galatians 5:16-23 (Passion Version)
As we deny the flesh, and pursue higher things, we fall into line with God’s will and open up our lives to spiritual blessings. Joy comes from relationship with Him. Through our pursuit of God and His presence, we will discover the fullness of joy. He is just waiting for us to draw close to Him.
James 4:8 (NIV) “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Psalm 16: 8-11 (ESV) “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices, my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures evermore.”Through our pursuit of God and His presence, we will discover the fullness of joy. #joy #wordnerdwednesday @zajac_aol Click To Tweet
Finding Joy in Praise
Another Biblical word for joy is ranan, which means to sing or shout for joy, or rejoice. Ranan is used 53 times in the Bible, with most occurrences indicating the expression of joy in response to Yahweh and what He has done. Rinnah, a noun derived from ranan (with 30 contexts) is a shout or cry of singing reflecting a general gladness of heart.
“Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”
Psalms 147:1 (NIV)
“He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy;”
Psalm 105:43 (NIV)
“The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.”
Psalm 107:42 (NIV)
When we honor Him with our praise and adoration, we are metaphorically swept up to meet Him in the Heavenly realms as our environment shifts and we become aware of His presence. It is in this place that the cares of the world slip away. It is here that He heals, encourages, and renews our spirit. Experiencing Jesus in this way is as simple as getting alone with Him, turning on some praise and worship music and letting Him speak to your heart. On a daily basis, surround yourself with music that lifts you up (perhaps even forego secular music for a period of time) and see what the Lord does in your life as you offer up the sacrifice of praise. As Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) instructs us, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.”
The next verse in Hebrews leads us to our final exploration in how to receive the joy of the Lord through generosity.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)
God blesses us so that we might bless others, and in helping others we receive the simple joy found through giving. The Bible tells us in Acts 20:35 (ESV) “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Proverbs 19:17 (ESV) says, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
Giving to others is a powerful conduit to bring more joy into our own lives. In God’s economy we are paradoxically called to give away the very thing we need, thereby taking the focus off of ourselves. We are never more like Jesus than when we are giving of ourselves — whether it is our time, finances, or talents. He made the ultimate sacrifice and gave His life for ours, so we in return can show the love of Christ through our giving.Giving to others is a powerful conduit to bring more joy into our own lives. #joy #wordnerdwednesday @zajac_aol Click To Tweet
My prayer for you today is that you will enter into the abundant joy that the Lord is longing to bestow upon you. May your burdens be light and your heart filled to overflowing. In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen ~
Donna is a poet, artist, and writer who regularly contributes feature articles to Vacaville Magazine. Her hobbies include acting, singing, photography, exploring new recipes for healthy eating, and watching tiny hedgehog videos on YouTube. (It’s a real thing!) She is currently overcoming inertia, and working on material for a blog site she will launch later this year.
She has an extensive background in media production, having produced hundreds of television commercials and shows, engaging her skills in scriptwriting, shooting and editing. Her deep love for animals led her to produce and host her own show, BowWowMeow, and she has also worked as writer and host of many specialty shows. Additionally, she emceed several live televised events, including the Fiesta Days Parade in Vacaville for nine years, and the United Way Telethon.
She has served in women’s ministry writing devotionals and producing videos, and is currently working full-time in media production.
She lives in Northern California with her very patient and amazing husband, Steven, and two exceptionally fluffy Ragdoll cats, Boodles and Tiki, and loves spending time with friends and family.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday.