We're beginning a series on joy at the church that I am really excited about. Interesting enough the primary Greek word used for joy in the New Testament, chara and the word we translate as grace, charis, both come from the root word chairo. This word, as with many Greek words, has a number of meanings. It was used as a salutation or greeting. It also means to rejoice or be glad, but it also means to be well or thrive.
Too many times we live a life of trying to get by when God has so much more for us. In John 10:10 Jesus even said that He came that we would have life and have it more abundantly. That doesn't mean we'll never go through stress or hard times or trouble. It does mean we should be living a life of meaning and purpose.
In Romans 14:17 Paul wrote that "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." If you read earlier in the chapter you see that Paul was responding to a controversy over food and observances of ritual. He was trying to get them off of focusing on things that don't matter and on what is real. Righteousness, peace, and joy come though Jesus. We so easily get our priorities out of whack and wonder why we are stressed out and overwhelmed.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and is an outworking of our fellowship with the Lord. Joy sets us free to be who God would have us to be. It changes us and transforms us. It helps us to lay down our defensiveness and insecurity and helps us to get outside of ourselves and focus on others. Joy is powerful and ever so necessary in this life. Joy will help us to thrive and to live life well.