Within the Christian church, we’ve heard of the English proverb speak of “Joy was born a twin; to be joy it must be shared.” We’ve also have heard of “Joy is the most infallible proof of the presence of the Spirit of God.” And according to Paul the Apostle, the fruit of the Spirit presents as: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
When the Bible speak of Joy, Joy isn’t happiness. “Happiness” is based in what happens to use, but joy is what is inside us, not matter what. Happiness can be taken away, but joy will always remain. Our bodies are filled with joy every day, even during the bad times. If our car breaks down, we are certainly not happy about that, but our joy is still there. Relationships serve another good example of being happy and having joy. When we’re having trouble within our relationships, we can become angry and sad, but joy is still there between.
Happiness is the natural response when good things happen; joy is no matter what happens. The joy that fills our lives is an expression of the grace of God. For we know he has forgiven us, and then he fills us with joy. We know this joy will live with us until eternal life.
In other parts around the world such as India, North Korea, and other countries, these brothers and sisters are being prosecuted of their faith. They are undergoing torture and pain, but they still have joy. Although they might lose their lives for God, they will still find life because of joy and no one can take that from them.
According to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus himself endured the cross because of the joy that was set before him. Being a part of the Christian church, we’re able to endure suffering and death because of joy and Him. Jesus said, “Do not fear him who can kill the body; fear rather him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Fear God, not the man. (Matthew 10:28)
The Voice of Martyrs have recorded more people died in the 20th century for their faith than previous. They see more people this century than the first twenty centuries combined! Over 170 million Christians have died for their faith since the beginning of time. The people are coming to Jesus and their faith rather quickly than before. As the church has grown in history, persecution has grown along with it.
As for all of the Apostles of Christ, they’ve died under violent persecution, except for John. Thomas was stoned to death, Peter was crucified upside-down, Paul was beheaded, and they all accepted death knowing that only their bodies have died. Their spirit will live on. Jesus said on the cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
Even in the worst times, joy is there.