“Can I Have a Raise of Hands for Everyone Who Wants More JOY In Their Life?”
Granted, there are benefits to unpacking what “JOY” really means to each of us, but if we had the time to hang out and “GoDeep” for while (a luxury we rarely afford ourselves) we would uncover many very common desires of our heart and life… about JOY.
Also, it’s important to see that there are many people who have so deeply identified themselves with their pain, addictions, or false self that they would not (initially at least) dare identify themselves as desiring or deserving JOY. But this “heart disease” can be cured—and the desire for JOY revitalized.
THE JOY-SORROW CONNECTION
The Bible has lots of places to help us see how JOY reveals, revitalizes, and revolutionizes the heart and life, but let’s take a gander at two key Bible passages which have one big thing in common.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 2:2-5).
“Now when he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you’” (The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-11).
THE BOTTOM-TO-TOP, TOP-TO-BOTTOM… LINE
Responding to the unavoidable brokenness and the blessings of this temporarily broken world by relying first, foremost, and forever on the God of the Bible will result in JOY—that begins within, must be spread abroad without, and will change the world… for the best.
Conversely, responding to the unavoidable brokenness and the blessings of this temporarily broken world by relying first, foremost, and forever on the god of self will result in SADNESS, BITTERNESS, HARDENING, DESPAIR—that begins within, must be spread abroad without, and will change the world… for the worst.
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” (Madeleine L’Engle)
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” (Mark Twain)
Make your JOY complete (Philippians 2),