Knowing Your Joy, Wearing Your Joy by Mary Stewart

When I hear the word joy many people and things come to mind. My grandmother had an infectious laugh, she loved life, and found joy in the simple things. I also think of my granddaughter Adalyn Joy, as we shared ice cream recently. Her simple joy in spending time together brings a smile to my face.

The word joy in the Bible can be translated to mean gladness, to be bright, to shine, to rejoice. Joy sometimes leads to singing and dancing yet in the New Testament we are encouraged to rejoice in the Lord always.” (Phil 4:4) and “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” (I Thess 5:16-18)  

In our culture we often think joy = happiness. Yet the meaning in scripture goes much deeper than that. The Bible Project says, “It’s an attitude God’s people adopt not because of happy circumstances, but because of their hope in God’s love and promise.” This joy is what Jesus saw as he endured the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”  

In Psalm 30 joy is contrasted with mourning, sadness and tears. Verses 4-5 say, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” I have weeped in the night where troubles seemed overwhelming and never-ending. Solving them seemed impossible, yet in the morning when my trouble still remained, my perspective changed. I was reminded of God’s faithfulness, the eternal hope in Jesus. The present trial for me was temporary and lasted but for a “night” and was soon over.

Verse 11 goes on to say “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,” My mourning has turned to dancing because there is “fullness of joy” in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). This joy is more than outward joy but comes from the inside from the Holy Spirit. I am clothed with the joy of the Lord. He covers me, wraps me in his love, and fills me with his presence giving me joy that lasts forever.  

So, remember your joy and wear it whatever the outside circumstances are! The key to our joy is its source, Jesus Christ. His presence gives joy that no one or no thing can take away. We are not meant to put on joy by faking it and pretending all is well when it’s not. Only God alone can “take away our mourning and clothe us with joy”. So when you are putting on your clothes let that sink in each day. Think of the presence of Jesus literally covering you in his love.