Joy is a loaded word for a lot of us who grew up in the church.
We know that Joy is supposed to be different than happiness because we are supposed to have Joy all the time, regardless of circumstances. Happiness comes and goes, we’re told, but with Jesus you get to have Joy forever.
I must confess: I’m a pretty happy person, but I don’t have Joy all the time.
(And I don’t see anyone else with it either).
When the whole Christian Internet explodes over Hobby Lobby and World Vision and every partisan issue there has ever been, I see no joy.
When the shouting gets so loud that hurting people are sneaking out the back door, I see no joy.
When we focus on discipline and doctrine instead of Grace and Love I see no joy.
Just as a fruit tree is not always in bloom, I know that my joy has seasons of waiting and even of death before it blooms again. But it will bloom again. It must, or it will die. And when it does, it will reproduce, because joy begets joy.
This is good news.
The Good News is not that we have to stand before God and give an account for our actions someday after we die. That is terrible, fear-mongering, Bad News.
The Good News is that this world was made for us to enjoy with God, right now and forever. That He knows what He is doing with it and He’s redeeming the broken places already, and we get to be a part of this work! That the one who made us wants to spend time with us doing what we both like to do.
The Good News is that we were made to Enjoy.
If we believe that the Gospel is Good News, then we are not here to be guilt-ridden fearers but free Joy-makers. If we believe the kingdom is coming and even now here, on earth as it is in Heaven, then this life is precious and full and joy is ours for the taking!
Our Joy is Christ.
Our Joy is not in Christ or of Christ or (worst of all) for Christ, but simply Christ. Joy is turning completely and fully with Christ to embrace this Good world He has created and even now is making new. Christ is our life and our love and so how could he possibly not be our joy as well?
Let’s get out there and enjoy this world together with the One who made it and made us for eternal Joy. Let’s stop talking about Joy like it’s something you have to fake if you’re not feeling it and acknowledge seasons and deaths and be ready to enjoy when Spring comes around again.
Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.
Photo by Loren Kerns via Flickr
I’m linking up with Velvet Ashes and their prompt “Enjoy” this week.