Joy is mentioned 242 times in the New International Version of the Bible. According to the Holman Bible Dictionary *, joy is "the happy state that results from knowing and serving God." It goes on to say, "Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God." It is directly proportional to your relationship with God - a great relationship with God equals great joy.
Romans 15:13 says, I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy and hop are closely linked - we experience joy because of the hope that we have in Jesus. That is why we can be joyful no matter what our circumstances. Even in the middle of sickness, a family breakdown, loss, or heartbreak, we can experience joy because we know that one day we will enjoy eternity with Jesus without any of those painful things. James 1:2-3 says, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James is saying to be joyful when you experience hard times because they are developing your character!
Do you feel joyful? If not, you might want to invest some time in your relationship with God.
In Matthew 17 the disciples had tried to cast an evil spirit from a demon-possessed boy, but it wouldn't come out. When they asked Jesus why, he told them it was because of their lack of faith. In fact, he got quite frustrated with them and said, You people have no faith. Your lives are all wrong. How long must I stay with you? How long must I continue to be patient with you? In verse 20 he explained, You were not able to drive out the demon because your faith is too small. I tell you the truth. If your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And the mountain will move. All things will be possible for you (ICB).
So, what is faith? According to Hebrews 11:1, Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. Visualising your goals has become very popular in secular thinking recently. It's a bit like faith except that visualising is believing in your own abilities and faith is believing in God's ability.
Have big faith - the God you serve is the same God who created the universe, parted the sea so that the Israelites could escape the Egyptians, tore down the wall of Jericho, saved Daniel in the lion's den and saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace.
1 John 4:18 says There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.
The key to understanding this verse is found in the verses before it. Verse 16-17 say, We know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him. If God’s love is made perfect in us, then we can be without fear on the day God judges us. God is love - he wants to bless us, not punish us. That's why he sent Jesus so he could adopt us as his children.
The love the author speaks about is not only the love that God has for us or our love for God, but our love for each other.
Fear can not exist when:
I am afraid of failure and looking foolish. Here are some scriptures that address that fear:
Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 8:38-39 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us—nothing in the whole created world—will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Think about your fears. How can perfect love drive out your fear? Can you find scriptures to meditate on that speak God's truth over your fears?
Towards the end of Jesus' ministry he told his disciples, If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. Our human nature wants us to please ourselves, not deny ourselves. Once again, God's kingdom is the complete opposite of the world. You don't literally have to carry a cross but you have to sacrifice your own desires to do what Jesus would do instead. For example, instead of selfishly spending all of your money on yourself, you need to help those in need and share it with others. Instead of using bad language like many others at school, you need to speak things that are holy, good and uplifting. These are not really big sacrifices considering that Jesus sacrificed his like for you.
When someone was crucified in New Testament times, part of the sentence was to carry their cross through the town. Not only was this difficult, it was also shameful. Often we feel ashamed or embarrassed about being a Christian because it means we don't fit in with our non-christian friends. Hebrews 12:2 says, But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing. He did this because of the joy that God put before him. We should accept any shame for being a follower of Jesus because of the joy we will experience when we spend eternity with him.
For more information on the 'follow me' part of this verse, see the devotion on 18th May 2021.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.