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JOY! Our Fundamental Need

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – John 15:11 ESV

Life without joy is overwhelming, overburdened, and oppressive. It’s been shown that the more joy we experience, the more productive we are.

In the Book of Philippians, only four chapters long, Paul uses the word “Joy” sixteen times. Funny thing though: Paul did not write this Book while he was in a joyful place in his life. He was a Roman prisoner, incarcerated, a dead-man walking, waiting to be executed. Howbeit, that in the darkest days of his life, he wrote about joy?

Paul makes no idle boast. He knew firsthand the wealth and privileges of prominence in the Jewish community and of Roman citizenship. On the other hand, he had suffered extraordinary hardships in his work – jailing, beatings, stoning’s, to say nothing of emotional and spiritual disappointments. What was Paul’s secret? The result, he says, was contentment.

The reality is that you can lose joy (contentment) quickly with just one phone call, or email, letter or conversation. We have a fundamental need for joy in our lives. Many of us live at the upper levels of material prosperity, abounding, as Paul puts it, and such is the temptation to forget God. 

As a Christian, you can enjoy life because you are secure in God’s love. We are learning together to be like Jesus, and for that reason we can laugh and have fun in church, because we are looking out one another’s interests. It’s OK. 

We fail to experience joy when we do not want to let God into their lives for fear that He will make us give up everything that is fun, thinking that to live Holy is miserable. But the truth is God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17b). If you’re going through a period when you feel like you’ve lost the spark, and you’re not as close to God as you used to be, and you’re just going through the motions of life, you need to know that the Joy of the Lord is your strength, and in Him you can get your joy back.

The first step is to tell God all about it. Admit that you’ve lost it and pray what David prayed, when he said, “Restore me to the Joy of Your Salvation.” Psalm 51:2

Extreme conditions test our character, and we are challenged in these times to be content, even when much of our culture demands more, bigger, better. 

But the sobering testimony of Paul is rather than looking to the possessions he had, or did not have, or to his circumstances, good or bad, he looked to Christ to satisfy his needs. 

Paul encourages us to follow his example, and to trust God for all our needs. In Him, we find joy, which is our fundamental need.


Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon