Last week I said I wanted to write a post about joy.
It has seemed as though the topic has been popping up around me through various friends who have shared their thoughts completely independently of each other. My friends Hosanna and Jessica both blogged about it recently (well, barring the fact that I’ve taken weeks or months to respond. It feels recent).
Then another friend called me and shared some teaching she’d been listening to that articulated joy in a totally new way to anything I’ve heard before. It’s what we feel when someone we love responds favorably to us – when they are happy to be with us.
I can see the logic in this.
This is what enabled Paul of the New Testament to be able to say, while he was in chains and some people were preaching Christ out of selfish ambition:
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
-Philippians 1:18 (read the context in your Bible or here)
And this is why Paul’s contemporary, the author of Hebrews, could say of the early Church:
You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
-Hebrews 10:34 (read the context in your Bible or here)
And this is the basis on which church leader James staked his exhortation:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
-James 1:2 (read the context in your Bible or here)
Despite any and all circumstances that are pressing against us from all sides, if we are the children of God, God has responded favorably to us.
Incredibly favorably. In fact, He didn’t respond, He initiated. And that while we were still sinners.
I’m going to wrap up this post on the shorter side (if you want more reading, go back and read the contexts of the verses, which I linked to). But I want to end by affirming the messages of my friends Hosanna and Jessica. Yes, joy is possible. And yes, you can rejoice. Right now.
- How would you define or articulate joy? From what other angles would you look at this fruit of the Spirit?
- Share with me a favorite passage expressing some of the many ways God has responded favorably to His children. One of mine is 2 Peter 1:3-4.
- Do you have a personal testimony of joy in the unlikely place—whether in the midst of a trial or the mundane?