By: Clarissa Mangaran

At the end of each day of Creation in Genesis 1, God declared, “It is good.” This declaration underscores the innate connection between our experience of joy and the goodness of God’s Creation. Across the board, whether someone is a follower of Jesus or not, our hearts resonate with joy when we encounter the beauty and goodness of nature (and life in general) because it reflects the divine fingerprint of God’s handiwork upon the world.

Genesis 3 describes the devastating consequences of humanity’s fall into sin, which marred the perfection of God’s Creation. The consequences of this rebellion rippled throughout creation and time, ushering in an era of death, decay, and suffering that will last until the promised return of Jesus Christ. Joy, rooted in God’s perfection, found itself in conflict with the brokenness brought about by human transgression. But we must be mindful not to place all the blame on Adam and Eve because we’re all accountable for the sins we choose throughout our lifetime. 

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ is rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV)

If we stop at the Fall in Genesis 3, joy remains elusive. Yet, amidst the darkness, a glimmer of hope emerged with the birth of Jesus Christ. The angelic proclamation in Luke 2:10-11 heralded good news of great joy for all people. The birth of Christ signified the dawn of redemption, offering a pathway to attain joy that transcends the trials of this world.

“And an angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10-11)

Even in the face of persecution and suffering, the Bible encourages believers to choose joy. But what does that look like?

The answers are found in God’s Word. 

Matthew 5:11-12 states that when we endure persecution for the sake of Jesus, we can trust God’s promise that our reward is in heaven.

Acts 13:50-52 illustrates the resilience of believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to shake off the dust of rejection and press forward in joy.

The ultimate example of joy amidst suffering is found in the life of Jesus Himself. Hebrews 12:1-3 recounts how Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, for the joy set before Him. His steadfast commitment to the Father’s will serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring believers to persevere through their own trials.

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:4-13, provides a blueprint for navigating trials with a biblical perspective. By relying on the fruit of the Holy Spirit and embracing hardships as opportunities for spiritual growth, believers can cultivate joy even in the midst of adversity.

Philippians 4:8-9 offers practical guidance for nurturing joy in daily life. By focusing on the true, honorable, just, and lovely things, believers can train their minds to dwell on that which is praiseworthy, thereby inviting the presence of God’s peace. You should note an emphasis on putting into practice the things taught by Jesus.

Joy is not merely a fleeting emotion but a commandment woven throughout Scripture. 1 Thessalonians 5 instructs believers to rejoice always, regardless of circumstances. This command is not given without provision, for Ephesians 1 assures believers of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence, empowering them to obey God’s commands.

As followers of Christ, our lives should be marked by a consistent expression of joy. Our unwavering joy serves as a testimony to the transformative power of the Gospel in our lives, drawing others into a relationship with Christ.

True joy, as defined by Scripture, is not contingent on the absence of sorrow but thrives amidst adversity. When believers choose joy in the midst of suffering, they bear witness to the depth of God’s love and the sufficiency of His grace.

Ultimately, joy is a choice—an act of surrendering control and trusting in God’s faithfulness. As believers relinquish the burden of controlling outcomes, they find freedom from remaining in anxiety, fear, and stress for too long, knowing that their ultimate hope rests in the hands of a sovereign and loving God.

In embracing joy as both a command and a gift from God, believers unlock the fullness of life found in Christ. May our lives overflow with joy, radiating the light of Christ in a world longing for hope and redemption.

Written By: Clarissa Mangaran