This is our monthly dose of spiritual wisdom from Min. Crystal Cochren of My Faith and Fitness.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” ~ John 15:11 (KJV)
Joy is not happiness. Joy is a spirit. Happiness is temporary. Joy is long lasting. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) We can only get joy from God. Oftentimes, we seek happiness in earthly things and beings and we think that we are seeking joy. Many of us shop, eat or participate is self-destructive activities in an effort to fill the void we have because we lack joy. Sometimes, our conduct results because we realize that something is missing from our lives. Another reason for our awful behavior is that we do not know what joy is and is not.
People can fake happiness. Joy can only be real. I know a woman from college who, by most accounts, was happy. In public, she always had a smile on her face. She always had a kind word for everyone who she encountered. Years later, I learned that she had been battling the spirit of depression while in college. She was faking happiness and faking it quite well, actually.
In the text, Jesus is teaching the disciples about Himself. Jesus explains that our joy can only be full when we possess joy from Jesus. Without Jesus’ joy, we will have a void that cannot be filled by any substitute. We have so many issues with which to contend. We have to fight the adversary’s attacks. We must fight the attacks on our personhood. For instance, the media’s portrayal of Black women can constitute a daily assault on our spiritual and mental health and fitness. Additionally, we must heal from the damage done to us before and during our walk with Christ. I encourage you to pray about how you can receive joy. Analyze your life and the people in it. What impediments exist that prevent you from experiencing the fullness of joy? Only God can give us the tools so that we can receive the healing and joy that we need. Be blessed as you increase your focus on your spiritual and emotional health. Remain encouraged.