Joy. When looking up the word, you see some of the synonyms used to describe it. Words like delight, great pleasure, triumph. Some often use the word happiness. I have been taught as a Christian that there is a difference between the word joy and happiness. Happiness is often based on circumstances.
Joy comes from what brings you delight. The word of God tells us to delight after the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Doesn’t always mean we GET what we WANT – but it does mean that God can bring us joy in the area we are in. We focus on Him- and what He delights in. Focusing on the Word of God and the souls of others – their salvation and growth- often brings me true joy. It is the things that matter, right at the very heart of God.
Joy comes from where you triumph. We know that Jesus triumphed over the grave (1 Corinthians 5:57). He conquered sin, death and hell. We are more than conquerors when we are in Christ Jesus. With this in mind, when we walk in the Spirit(Galatians 5:22-23), and when we put our affections on things above (Colossians 3:1), we have joy.
Joy is found in great pleasure- and in the Lord, we have pleasures forevermore(Psalm 16:11). Joy is found in the presence of the Lord. Until we get to heaven, and can be in that presence forever, we can get a taste of it as we spend daily time in the Word of God and prayer.
What does this have to do with being joyful in our marriage? Everything.
When we are not in the right relationship with Christ- when we are not focused on the things we need to be – we can’t have joy. When we focus on the world, and all that the world has in it – we are looking for happiness, not joy. When we focus on Christ, and who He is, and what He has done for us, we are focusing on the eternal – and the eternal has joy. Uncontrollable joy.
Often, we lose our joy because we have placed an expectation on our spouse that was never meant for them. Our spouses are not God. They can’t – and don’t – and won’t – complete us. When we expect our spouse to meet all our needs, especially those that only God can fulfill, we are placing and expectation on them that they were never meant to carry. Yes, they are meant to be our spiritual leaders. No, they were not meant to be our spiritual sustainer. They can’t have our walk with God. We need to have our own, personal, intimate walk with the Father.
Another reason we lose our joy if that our eyes are not focused on what they should be. We are often busy comparing our “behind the scene” to someone else’s “highlights” – meaning we compare our lives to everyone else’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Let’s be honest ladies. No one has a perfect home, kids or marriage. They all require work. A good Wife, Mom and Homemaker isn’t going to share all her dirty laundry. I honestly dislike those who are constantly raining complaints about their kids and husbands on Facebook. Even those that are “hidden” messages, meant only to be de-coded by those who REALLY know what is going on. We need to give real expectations for our lives- and that includes our husbands. We need to refocus on the important things of life. Even good marriages have rough spots- but they can be worked, and they can help us grown. I have come to believe being a wife, and a mother, are God’s biggest tools of sanctification in my life. We need to guard our mind, our eyes, and most importantly our hearts, from areas where we might be stumbling in this area -and that may mean social media. Please ladies, if I could ask you anything, it is to put your family above social media.
Yes, I know. Not all days are joyful. For sure, not all days are happy. We are going through a dark time right now. Our mother in law is dealing with cancer – and her fight is nearing its end. Happiness comes in small spurts. However, joy comes in knowing that she knows the Lord, and that her eyes are set on Home. No, it isn’t easy. Yet, joy gives hope – and hope and joy help us walk, sometimes slowly, but always moving forward. Maybe you too are in a dark time. It might even be in your marriage. However, know you can move – even if it small steps. In order to be a joy-filled wife, you must have a joy-filled life. That starts with your relationship with Jesus. Start with moving your knees down to the floor and surrendering your heart – and your marriage – to the one Who can change the hearts of men.
This post is part of our book club series on the book The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife by Darlene over at Time Warp Wife .