True joy comes only to Christians who fully surrender to Christ. Joy comes to those who realize that they are not a being who has a soul, but rather a soul who has a body. Joy comes only to those who learn to accept their human condition, come what may, because they are in God’s hands.
Paul wrote from prison, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11b – 13).
Many in America’s post-Christian society teach that joy is a decision. Few, though, can simply choose to be joyful without deeply burying their pain. Paul did not offer platitudes or write a self-help book. He didn’t preach positive thinking. The key to true joy is in the last half of verse 13: “Christ who strengthens me.”
David (Psalm 30:5) could be sure that joy comes in the morning because he had submerged himself in the mercy of God. He could be sure that God’s wrath lasted but a while because he had learned that, when he sinned, to repent and seek forgiveness. He had, indeed, surrendered to God.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“I can find true joy through Christ who strengthens me.”