Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
This series is for women to share what they are learning to spiritually clothe themselves with, how they choose to adorn their heart, and what they choose to put on because of their desire to be precious in God’s sight.
Greek: χαρά, ᾶς, ἡ
Part of speech: Noun, Feminine (how awesome that Joy is a feminine word!)
Definition: joy, gladness, a source of joy OR the cause of occasion of joy
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”
The quote is anonymous, but it felt like it was Jesus was speaking to me. After a painful two years (and counting) of family struggles, where I had to adjust to a new pattern of life, I realized that most of the joyous parts of my life had been pushed to the backburner and I was living in and out of my problems, fears, and uncertainty. I lived for two full years, an un-joy-filled life. There were days throughout those two years where I would think, “Can you blame me for not having joy? My entire world has been ripped out from under my feet. I’m 20 years old and acting as a mother to one middle school and one high school girl. I’m not in school anymore because my family needs me to be home. All my friends will be graduating on time and I will be left behind academically. My social life is dwindling because I don’t have time for my friends anymore because I’m too busy shuttling my beautiful, hurting, confused baby sisters to soccer games and art lessons. All the while I’m cooking/cleaning/doing laundry/helping with homework every day as well. I don’t go to church anymore because I’m so utterly ashamed at what has happened in my family. There are very few people who have reached out to me- making me (and extremely social person) feel like a loner for the first time in my life.”
I preface this post with my story because, what I have been learning during my 10 months of marriage and period of restoration is this: God created me, and all of us, for a need for joy because He intends it to be his opening in my life. My desire for happiness (or JOY) is to be the catalyst that opens my life to Jesus. This very need drives me to his heart. Psalms is filled with declarations that represent the eternal message of God’s heart to his people.
“You have made 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
“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving JOY to the heart.” Psalm 19:8
“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the JOY of your presence.” Psalm 21:6
“Light is shed upon the righteous and JOY on the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:11
(Also- how beautiful is it that we, women, who have a deep need to be filled with beautiful JOY, are given the word “JOY” which is a feminine word! Jesus really knew what he was doing when he created language and language use throughout history!)
See, in those two years of struggling never once did I realize that Jesus created me to be Joy-filled. I knew that joy came with the Christian walk, but I never realized that I was created for it. The Lord gives us joy in our innermost being so that we will be free of the fear and the emptiness that keeps us focused on our externals. Until we find the joy for which we have been created, we will always be unsettled. We will be clothed in fear/anxiety/stress instead of being clothes in JOY! Part of knowing Jesus is knowing and living in the JOY that he has set before us! So, we have a choice. To live in JOY, knowing that living in JOY is living in community with Jesus, or to allow Satan- a thief- to steal our JOY! How often we allow him to steal something so precious that Jesus has given us. May we be in such communal joy with Jesus that there is not time or place where Satan will succeed in taking the joy away and off of us. May joy be a solid, stead, immovable contentment that is rooted inside us rather than a fleeting emotion that is based on events outside of us.