Filled with Joy


Prayer:  Pray for God to open our eyes to his truth: Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.  To reach out and touch Him, And say that I love Him. Amen[1] – Robert Cull

Main Scripture: Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Associative Scriptures:

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You (Psalms 5:11, NKJV).

And these things we write to you that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4, NKJV).

Correlative Quotes

Maybe you have seasons of happiness when everything is going well, but trouble inevitably returns, bringing stress and discouragement. For a believer, such experiences are deeply troubling because this doesn’t seem like the abundant life Christ promised[2]    – Charles Stanley

Happiness is a cosmetic; it is on the outside. Joy is character; it is on the inside. Happiness only meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs.[3] – Adrian Rogers

So, here’s the definition I’ve come up with from studying Scripture: Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation. You’ll find nothing in that definition about happy feelings, because, as we all know, happiness is fleeting and temporary.[4] – Kay Warren


Certain words belong to Christianity, like salvation, resurrection, faith, and eternal life.  Joy is also one of those words.  The world system may use the word joy, but only as a synonym to the word happiness.  Simply put, the worldly equivalent to the word Joy is happiness.

To us as believers, happiness and joy are not the same thing.  Happiness is external and temporal.  Joy is internal and eternal.  Happiness is a feeling that is motivated by the actions or events around us.  As a result, when the object of our happiness disappears, so does the feeling.

For example, it is a beautiful, sunshiny day, and as we walk in the soft breeze, we feel happiness because of our external environment.  Then suddenly the wind picks up, the clouds get dark, and it begins to pour down rain.  We have no umbrella.  We get soaked.  Our happiness disappears and becomes either anger or sadness at the change in our environment.  That’s happiness; it comes and goes, since it is externally caused and temporal.  Joy is a function of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).

Christians can experience both happiness and joy, unbelievers, cannot.  This is because joy is not a feeling, it is a gift from God.  Since unbelievers do not have the presence of the Holy Spirit, they cannot experience the gifts of the Spirit.  Therefore, they cannot feel joy, nor can they understand it.

Since Joy is a gift to us from God and we cannot be separated from Him (Romans 8:38-39), nothing can cause us to lose our joy.  In the direst of circumstances, we can fall back on our joy, allowing us to survive even the most difficult and emotionally challenging hardships.

In the sunny day rainy day scenario, when the rain begins, we lose our happiness, but we still keep our joy.  Joy that tells us that we belong to God, no matter the external circumstances (Romans 8:28).  Enjoy happiness when it comes along.  However, continually celebrate joy.  It is eternal. 

  1. Joy Announced:

Three things seem particularly special about this short but powerful letter. First, its keyword is joy.  The words joy and rejoice reoccur often in this letter from Paul.  They suggest a helpful strategy for the book's study.

Second, Philippians contains one of the most powerful New Testament affirmations of Christ's deity and lordship. Jesus, who is God from eternity past to eternity future, emptied Himself to become a man.  He suffered death.  Then He was raised again to His original glory.  Finally, Jesus was given a name that is above every name, Lord.

Third, Paul shared his own personal goal in life.  He has a yearning for the present experience of transformation and perfection, which will be ours at the resurrection.

  1. Joy Defined:

The Old Testament uses of the word joy, casting it in terms of the worshiping community's response to God. Relationship with Him is the key to joy.  The New Testament uses a Greek word, indicating both a state of joy and that which brings us joy on a personal level.[5]

Happiness is the quality or state of being temporarily satisfied.[6] Happiness is an emotion.  Happiness then is dependent on outward circumstances.  It is short-lived.

Joy is the position of contentment based on our relationship with God.  Joy is an attitude of the heart, not necessarily a feeling.  A person can experience joy when there is a complete absence of happiness.  Nehemiah 8:10 (NASB): “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

  1. Joy Expressed:

Joy is a salvation experience.  We are filled with joy at the point of our salvation (Psalm 51:12).  It is also expressed in our relationship with Jesus (Romans 5:11).  Finally, we experience joy through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.  This is the only source of our joy (Galatians 5:22). We cannot experience joy outside of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  He alone provides us with joy. 

We cannot experience joy’s power when we are not in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  Since joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, we reflect these fruits through our lives.  We can only experience that joy when we are in a right relationship with the Spirit through repentance.

  1. Finding Joy in Jesus:

We find joy through a living, deep, and continual relationship with Jesus.  In John 15:10-11, Jesus tells us: “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. “

We also find joy from answers to prayer.  In John 16:24 (NKJV), Jesus says: “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”  Jesus wants us to have a full and joyous life through prayer.

  1. Experiencing Joy through the Holy Spirit:

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.  Through our Salvation, the Holy Spirit lives in us.  He brings to us God’s great power.  The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of His working in us.  It is the fruit of the Spirit, not our fruit.  When we experience one of the fruits of the Spirit and/or others recognize it in us, we are expressing God’s Spirit and His works, not anything that we have done. 

The Spirit expresses himself through us.  Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV): “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.” Jesus was impacted by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We see in Luke 10:21: “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.’” 

We are encouraged to take action for God by the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6, HCSB).  Joy is not of this world system and its rewards. Mankind continually searches for happiness. Their thirst is unquenched.  What they are really searching for is Joy.  Joy is not a result of material possessions, but is a consequence of Salvation and obedience to God.  Joy is not determined by external circumstances.  It is a result of our relationship with God.  2 Corinthians 7:1-4 (HCSB) tells us: “since we have such promises, we should wash ourselves clean from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, making our sanctification complete in the fear of God. Joy and Repentance.” 

Deeper joy is a reward for a deeper relationship with Christ.  Those who find no joy in their lives but only occasional happiness need to look at their relationship with Jesus.  1 John 1:4-8 (NKJV) teaches: “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”  Joy is enhanced by fellowship with Jesus through the Spirit of God, and with one another.

  1. Joy Fulfilled:

Joy in the believer is a direct work of the Holy Spirit.  For the Holy Spirit to work in believers, they must be obedient to God through Him.  Obedience fulfills our responsibility to God. Steps to obedience:

  • Walk in the light (1John 1:7)
  • Be doers of the word (James 1:22)
  • Confess your sin to God continually (1John 1:9)
  • Seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)

Summary Statement: Personal happiness has its inception in self-fulfillment and never gives us long-term satisfaction, whereas Joy is a gift from God.  Enjoy the gifts that are eternal, not temporal.

Lessons within the Lesson:

What brings happiness to your life?

What brings joy into your life?

How is happiness expressed?

How is joy expressed?

[1] Robert Cull, Open My Eyes Lord, © Copyright 1976 Maranatha! Music/CCCM Music (ASCAP)(both admin. by Music Services), Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law.

[2] Charles Stanley, The Empowering Emotion of Joy, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law. Ibid.

[3] Adrian Rogers, The Difference Between Happiness and Joy, Love Worth Finding Ministries, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, copyright 2013,

[4] Kay Warren, Choose Joy: Because Happiness isn’t Enough, Baker Book Group, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, copyright 2012, , rick

[5]Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006.

[6], Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law,