Joy is the second gift of the Spirit, Love was the first.
Joy is number two on the list, and that is pretty awesome.
I remember lounging in Caesar’s Spa Qua in Las Vegas feeling terribly guilty about indulging in a luxurious spa day while so many people in the world were suffering and my own bank account wasn’t ample enough to buoy the experience. I was letting that guilt weigh me down and I sought God in meditation to help me with my conflicting emotions. I was immediately rewarded with a feeling of tranquility. It was okay to enjoy myself in that moment. It was okay to have Joy.
Another time I had the experience of God speaking to me about Joy was another occasion where I was indulging myself. I was enjoying a massage by my favorite masseuse, the man has magic hands, and I reached a level of meditation. During that meditative state God revealed to me that He really wants His children to have Joy and to be at Peace. That was it. God wants us to demonstrate Love to others and to have Joy and be at Peace. I like to think of God sometimes as a very clean living hippie.
Nevertheless, Joy isn’t just a passive emotion of supreme contentment. No. Joy is often a battle cry in the midst of turmoil and heart wrenching circumstances. It is easy to be happy or joyful when everything is going right and when we are experiencing a new delight. But, Joy when the world is crumbling around us is a feat that can only be performed by the Almighty and placing ourselves securely in His hands. That is why there is a distinction between joy and Joy. Joy with a capital J can only come from God. He is the being that loves us so completely that He sustains us through anything. Not to mention, I think it is incredibly amazing that the creator of the universe wants us to have Joy. He wants to pour it out and into us until we are leaping, laughing and dancing. He wants our nerves, cells, bones, and our very soul to resonate with Joy and illuminate the air around us. JOY!
I can’t explain that amazing feeling that comes from God. There is purity in the essence of Joy that comes from God. Many people are going to balk when I write this, but Joy is like a soul orgasm. Joy is pure light, and supreme goodness. When I am in a state of Joy, every part of me is lit up. It is truly a gift of the Spirit, because nothing else can make me feel that way.
If you want to experience Joy like that, start with gratitude and then move to praise. Ask for Joy and you will get it. When I think of a physical representation of Joy, I think of the statue of Ecstasy of St. Teresa. The look on her face is Joy. That is the expression of ecstasy of the heart, mind, body and soul that only God knows how to play for us.