“You have put joy in my heart.”Psalm 4:7

God created us to have joy. He plants joy in the hearts of all believers. Joy is dependent upon God, not upon our circumstances. Happiness stems from the happenings in our lives, while joy stems from the presence of God. It is placing our trust in Him and living in harmony with His eternal plan.

Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. When we yield to the Spirit, joy pours out of our hearts and into the lives of others. Yet it is easy to quench the Spirit by allowing the world, its cares and concerns, to extinguish that spark of joy. We focus upon life’s disappointments rather than God’s goodness.

“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”Psalm 16:11

King David recognized God as the Source of all joy. David’s life was characterized by the joy of the Lord. As a gifted musician, he wrote and sang songs of love and praise to his Lord. He enthusiastically played instruments and danced to express his joy. Despite his many hardships and adversities, David kept his focus on God and His unchanging character.

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.”C.S. Lewis

Joy is the outward expression of the inward presence of God. It is the unmistakable sign of His presence within us… and stems from absolute trust in His infallible character. Joy focuses on God. We remember that we are His beloved children and He has a wonderful plan for us.

Joy is an art that is cultivated. When we allow God’s joy to fill our hearts, we become artists of joy. We paint from His divine palette upon the lives of others. This is God’s will for us… to color our world with His joy.

“I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”John 15:11

How do we cultivate this art of joy? Joy = Jesus, Others, Yourself. This is God’s priority for us. If we live in this way, we will know His joy and it will be expressed in our lives.

J = Jesus:  He is the Cornerstone of our joy. He is the fount of living water that flows into our lives. His joy is the enduring quality that pervades our lives when we allow Him to live through us. He abides in us and we abide in Him. We are not moved from joy by the ups and downs of life. We center our all around Him and believe in His eternal plan for us.

O = Others:  Prioritizing our lives with others in mind is our Lord’s way. Jesus revolved His life and His ministry around others. He sought to help, heal and deliver everyone who came to Him. He saw their needs and reached out in love and compassion. We are called to love one another as He has loved us. It is in giving away His love that our joy becomes complete.

Y = Yourself:  As we live in awareness of our complete love and acceptance by God, we are strong and confident in Him. His joy is our strength. We live counter to the world and its ways. When our eyes are off of ourselves and on our Lord, we rise above the roller coaster of life. We look to spread His joy to those in our world.

“Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.”Wess Stafford, Compassion International

Life has a way of quenching our joy. We can’t change circumstances beyond our control… yet we can change how we deal with them. We can kindle the spark of joy within us by remembering and focusing on the good, the victories, the blessings in our lives. We can trust God to continue to bring them our way… and anticipate His goodness in our lives.

Jesus is painting a beautiful life for us. From His palette, He paints the attributes that characterize Christlikeness… the fruit of the Spirit. His desire and His will are to fill our hearts with His joy. We give this joy away by our words and actions inspired by the Holy Spirit. We speak words of life, joy and hope. We reach out to help with His heart of compassion.

Let us, then, express the art of joy in our lives. When the ups and downs of life affect our happiness, let us keep them from stealing our joy. We become artists of joy, painting from His heavenly palette upon the lives of others. We color our world with His joy.