When I recall this song from my early childhood, there’s hand-clapping. Only…we weren’t any good at it. The effort of my 3-year-old self to clap in time to the music was so strenuous that sometimes I forgot to sing.
My more introspective (or maybe cynical) adult self has learned to clap with the rhythm, but sometimes I look at the words to this song, and I’m the one asking, “Where?”
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart (where?) Down in my heart (where?) Down in my heart.
Sometimes, the joy feels so deep down in my heart that it isn’t springing up far enough to reach my lips or my mind. When joy becomes elusive, what then?
Fish for it. You know you still have it because the Scriptures say joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23). Use verses about joy to reach deeply into your heart and pull out the joy that’s stagnating down in that cave.
Because the song repeats joy four times, consider memorizing four verses about our joy as Christ-followers. Then you’ll have them ready the next time your joy feels like it’s waning. Want some suggestions?
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his dwelling place. -1 Chronicles 16:25-27
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. -Psalm 5:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. -Psalm 16:11
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. -1 Peter 1:8-9
What happens when you start saying—I mean declaring—these verses to yourself? You bring your mind into alignment with your heart (where the joy already dwells) so that your outlook begins to change. It more closely resembles Jesus’ perspective.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.
This joy that you know exists down in your heart…it’s a permanent thing. It’s there to stay. I don’t believe it’s something you can conjure up or create out of nothing. You can, however, call it up. (See my post, On Joy for more about this.)
It’s about a refocusing…a shift in mindset from the groans of earthly life to the glory of the Kingdom.
I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart… I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus down in my heart, down in my heart to stay!
Time doesn’t permit a discussion of the additional verses to our song, but you can apply the same principle of Scripture memorization and/or application on your own.
Sometimes those simple songs speak truth into our hearts when we need it most. Let’s use this one for His glory!
What verse helps you maintain your joy? Please share in the comments below!
Attribution: according to hymnary.org, this one is by George Willis Cooke (copyright not renewed after 1926).
Previously in this series:
Still to come:
- Father Abraham (maybe—if I can get over how silly it is)
- The Wise Man and the Foolish Man
- My God is So Big