Joy is defined as:

A: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

B: the expression or exhibition of such emotion.

I find it interesting on how the definition is separated in such a way.  Can a person have Joy as it is defined in A, but not B?  Absolutely.  The Psalms are filled with prayers of people who hold on tight to God but do not feel His presence at the moment. 

This past Sunday, I went from two extremes.  I started out being ecstatic and then slowly but surely, found my self going down to my knees asking God to restore that feeling of deep joy.  What caused such a shift in emotions?  Studies have shown that the amount of sleep and the type of diet one has effects the daily behavior one shows.  I did not get too much sleep on Saturday, and because I work the midnight shift that starts Saturday night into Sunday, I ended up drinking high amounts of caffeine.  I know that those factors played a major role as far as me getting an energy boost.  The crash that comes afterward, however, lasted longer than usual.  What had happened was that once again, I lost focus on God and started to become discontent in where I am right now.  It has been said that if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.  What I have been doing was attempting to act out my plans on my own, so I would not be surprised that I had God laughing hysterically.

What am I learning from that experience?  I wanted to keep my happiness, which is not in and of itself Joy.  Joy is not an emotion; it is the response of the heart of God’s gentle touch.  When we find ourselves running low on Joy, it is a sign that we need to get into the presence of God.  We need to spend time alone with Him, meditate on His Word and the promises He has, and stay with Him while He refreshes us with His Spirit.  John 16:33 says “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world." (MSG)  God is the source of Joy through Jesus Christ.  He is all we need.  Our fallen worldly view of well-being, success, and good fortune are nothing compared to what God has to offer us.  In Romans 12:5, we read, “so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (NLT)  I need to not only become a part of a regular Bible study, but I also need to serve more.  I know of many serving opportunities that are needed and that I have the abilities required to perform them.  This past Saturday, I was asked to be a greeter at church.  I was not really in the mood to greet, I just wanted to go in, sit down, listen to the service and be on my way.  I agreed to the request and began greeting people as they came in.  As I was doing so, the true feeling of Joy captured me.