Joy Ps 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness.
There is something fundamental about finding your joy in the moment. Joy to us is what gas is to a car. It fuels your spiritual energy and revitalizes your outlook. In short Joy God’s is the bedrock of our strength.
So why does God make Joy not a request but a mandate:? Because the alternative to joy is despair.
The price for not having joy is greater than the price for joy.
In this reality Paul would be a castaway if he did not preach the gospel with joy. This is why God doesn’t just idly ask you to have joy. The alternative leads to all other dark emotions and actions. Despair is a doorway that opens to many dark paths.
Barbara Fredrickson in her paper called "What good are positive emotions" said that Negative emotions (Like despair) act like a funnel for all other emotions. Have you ever noticed that when you are down, you are closed to any possibilities or vision for your life. Dark emotions narrow down every feeling into one hopeless outcome. When you focus on your negative emotions, creativity, hope, and vision are impossible.
Trying to have joy in this condition (Someone observed) is like attempting to play a beautiful symphony through a tuba. It will produce only one odd sound.
On the other hand Positive emotions (Joy) funnel open broadly all other emotions. When you have joy, you are open to all possibilities, creativity, and dreaming.
In the 80s the was a basketball coach who lost the game. From his “joyless perspective, all looked dark. Outside it was piercingly cold and rainy. The drops pelted him like cold pebbles. He pulled up his hood to brace against the overwhelming gloom. To the Basketball coach who won the game, everything looked bright. The future was wide open. Outside, the rain danced on the shiny pavement almost seeming crisen their great win. Every drop that hit their faces was like a new hope
Same event but two entirely different perspectives. Kind of the way Joshua and Caleb saw taking the land vastly different from the other 10 spies whose view was negative and impossible.
This mandate of joy is not something we simply whip up but a thing that God gives us. “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. Not my joy but His joy. The holy spirit is always trying to produce this in us as it is one of the fruits of the Spirit.