Growing in our faith, hope and love will also result in an ever increasing life of joy. When Paul wrote the Philippians his central theme of that small book was all about the joy involved with those who know and walk with the Lord. In that small letter he was struggling with his emotions and being in prison, he wasn’t sure he was going to live through the experience or not. He argued that he could live a contented life with whatever circumstance that God allowed in His life. He often longed to go home to be with the Lord, but because others needed him he was certain God would deliver him from the current imprisonment. He writes in chapter 1:4-5, “But it is more important for you that I stay alive. I’m sure of that. So I know I will remain with you. And I will continue with all of you to help you grow and be joyful in what you have been taught.

Joy is the result of living healthy and wholesome lives in an open and honest relationship with our creator. Paul didn’t make up this idea, because it’s mentioned several times in the Old Testament. Real joy, a contented, satisfying life, is not found in wealth, fame and the pleasures of our world. Rather, real joy is found in a close walk with the Lord. Isaiah said, (Isaiah 29:19) “The lowly will find ever more joy in Yahweh and the poorest of people will delight in the Holy One of Israel.” All the wealth in the world, all the security in the world cannot compare to a close walk and an intimate connection with the God that made us. The Psalmist sings (Psalm 4:7), “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

When Christ was born the angels declared “behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be for all the people.” (See Luke 2:10-11). No matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, the man or woman who receives Jesus will find joy, great joy! The absolute highest joy in life comes from being rightly connected with God. Jesus’ very purpose for coming was to make the connection for us and plug us back into the only true source of real joy. The closing of the book of Jude contains one of the most frequently recited blessings in the Bible. It’s all about joy! It says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy…, Verse 25, identifies that one as Jesus. The closer our walk with Jesus, the greater our joy!

“And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” 1 John 1:4