“And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,'” (Luke 2:8-14).
This memorable verse from Luke—which Linus proudly recites in A Charlie Brown Christmas to explain the true meaning of the holiday—states clearly where we are to find our greatest joy. It’s easy to say we’re joyful as we coast into another Christmas season, but joy isn’t meant to be experienced temporarily, or only in times where everything is going well. When we rest confidently in “the glory of the Lord,” we can experience joy all year long, even during our trials and hardships. So, settle in with your favorite blue blanket and see what verses the team at The Grit and Grace Project likes to read about joy.
Verses that teach us about joy:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:24
Joy for the Lost
If you’re a child in the era of Sunday School, you probably heard the story about Zacchaeus. If not, it is a great story well worth the read. A simple lost human, who did what he could to see Jesus and got more than he expected. “When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!'” he said. “‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’ Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy,” (Luke 19:5-6, NLT).
I have always looked at that story thinking about the effort made by this short yet influential man. His desire to change his life, to make restitution for his wrong, and willingly become a new man. But one phrase I had not pondered was “took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” In this busy Christmas season, when I am celebrating the birth of our Savior, do I bring him into my home with great excitement and joy? As guests are gathered and presents unwrapped, is he a welcome participant in my festivities? Not only do I welcome him, but I hope that I delight in him and what he has done for us. In this season, I want to treat him with the excitement and joy he deserves, for he truly is the source of all “Joy to the World.”
Darlene Brock—Co-founder and President
Read more from Darlene here.
Joy for the Distressed
Psalm 4:7 declares, “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” There is something about the undeniable joy that Christians have in the midst of what would otherwise break the human spirit that does more to the watching world than any other spectacle. Because really, joy in the midst of devastation doesn’t make sense to the mortal mind. But God draws near to his sheep when they walk through the valley, and they tend to feel his presence more keenly in the darkness than they do in pleasant pastures. That is the key to this perplexion: God’s presence. It is the presence of the Lord that produces joy—greater joy than any earthly comfort.
Yet, God is not just some sort of a consolation prize for a difficult life. Rather, he is the Author of Life and in him we find our meaning. In his presence we experience life-changing grace and breathtaking love. Oh, what joy! Psalm 16:11 says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” To know God is to be filled and overflowing with joy in a world that is otherwise hollow.
Ashley Johnson-Managing Editor
Read more from Ashley here.
Joy for All Times
Psalm 63:8 says, “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
How do I find joy? How can I keep it? I can’t keep it, but it is kept for me. Because this verse says He upholds me! Since I am secured by the God who made me, who sees my fears and faults and yet fully embraces and loves me faithfully, I can have full and lasting joy. Doesn’t matter if I’m facing my darkest day or I’m currently renting space on Easy Street. Circumstances don’t dictate joy. Having my identity and eternity founded in the Creator of the universe does.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning…You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:4-5, 11-12
Julie Graham–Brand Ambassador
Read more from Julie here.
It is the presence of the Lord that produces joy—greater joy than any earthly comfort.
Joy: (noun): the emotion evoked by well-being, success, good fortune or the prospect of possessing what one desires.
For years I misunderstood this word. I confused it with happiness. I confused it with my feelings. I confused it for a lot of things. But joy, true joy as I understand it now, comes only from knowing just of how deeply we are loved by a steadfast and faithful God. Joy is a steady-state, brought about by this assurance, and this assurance only: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
I cannot lose this. I cannot break it. I cannot throw it, sink it, float it, or drop it. There is nothing I can do to lose this love. And from this assurance comes joy, friends. Joy because it’s a steady-state. No matter what else happens in my life, no matter the hardship, no matter the pain, this is enough.
Meaghan Dawson–Manager of Editorial Development
Read more from Meaghan here.
Source of Joy
Maybe this is a stretch, but what comes to mind when I think of joy is the old hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” Have I written about this song before? Maybe, but hear me out.
The joy Jesus has to offer is so radically different than that of the world because it can be experienced in the darkest of times… Often, it’s actually realized most in the darkest of times. Joy doesn’t fade on a bad day; it doesn’t rely on circumstance; it’s not easily taken away. Joy makes whatever it is, well with my soul.
As Christians, we receive the honor of holding fast, through all of life’s days, to the very essence of Jesus: joy. Joy relies on Jesus. Joy brings life. Joy shows on your face. Oh, what joy to have unexplainable peace, fullness, and pleasure in the presence of the Lord. It’s hard to understand, but it’s far from unrecognizable. Seek and you shall find.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
Bethany Gilliland–Marketing and Administrative Assistant
Read more from Bethany here.
Joy in His Word
If I could cite the entire Bible as my favorite verse (or should I say verses) on joy, I would. I’ve once heard the Bible described as God’s love letter to his children, and as I’ve grown in my faith over the years through studying His Word, it’s impossible to deny that the Bible was written out of anything but love. The Bible teaches us how to walk in faith, releasing our troubles and trusting God for his care and his comfort. Seeing those affirmations of love every time I pull back that leather-bound cover brings me joy.
But if I had to narrow it down to a verse or two that grounds me further into my faith, it would be these: “The fear of man brings a snare, but I lean on, trust in, and put my confidence in the Lord, and I am safe and set on high,” (Proverbs 29:25, NLT) and “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love,” (Romans 5:5, NLT). In these verses, God promises to love us and keep us safe. Nothing in this world is so burdensome that our faith in God can not carry us through it. So why not be joyful? Why not go out each day believing the best in ourselves and all that we can live up to? We have our biggest supporter in God, and that’s pretty exciting.
Tess Raines–Editorial Assistant
Read more from Tess here.
More verses that will spark joy:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. Psalm 119:111
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
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