Perhaps the worst marketing for Christianity is joy-less Christians. Joy
is evidence/result/effect of the presence of the Holy Spirit
But isn't Christianity serious? Yes! C. S. Lewis points out "Joy is the serious business of Heaven."
The faint, far-off results of these energies which God's creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds are what we now call physical pleasures; and even thus filtered, they are too much for our present management. What would it be to taste at the fountain-head that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy.
Ok, how can we get more, especially when life brings trials?
- Joy is a Fruit. There is an organic delay. For example, in the face of severe execution, Jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33). This happens over time as we settle in with God.
- Joy is Internal. Practice delighting in your character over your circumstances. They are not the same! Two examples:
a) When circumstantially challenged, we can still have inner sense of well-being; and
b.) When materially blessed, we can still feel empty in the spirit.
It's in the spiritual realm that we find joy. (Material success makes us only "happy".)
- Joy, then Happiness and Pleasure. This may appear overly-technical, but there's a key point here. a.) Pleasure is in the body; b.) Happiness is in the mind/feelings; c.) Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self. We think we want pleasure the most, but it's actually deep joy.
- Joy is Received. It's often a surprise, uncontrolled. Jesus said the only way to enter into the Kingdom of Joy is to receive it like a kid (Mark 10). Thus we can't have it —we can only let it have us.
Surrendering to Joy
I can only give you more when you take hold of less. I have abundance from My throne that only those who love Me from their heart can know.
Mine is a Kingdom of light and I shine where I am free to be steward, to call the shots and nothing short of total surrender will do. God is and always will be your source of hope. Don't pretend that this earth is capable of offering or providing a substitute. The earthly things only offer a reflection of Me for I created it all and am the source. How could anything created hold any real hope? Why cling to it?
You have no reason not to be joyful for My presence is Joy. I have conquered it all; I have won the victory; I know how the game ends and we have won. I call the shots in this life from Heaven. Remember all I do is infused with My joy and there is no cause ever for despair. Despair is so foreign to My kingdom; it is strictly the creation of man out of communion with the King of Kings. It does not exist in Heaven, your true Christian home. In essence, it is not real, only real to the extent that you include it in your realm. Do you not exist in the Heavenly way when all is said and done? Keep ever focused on Me and you, too, will never know desperation.