THE NECESSITY OF JOY
“We need joy not just for our spiritual strength but for our physical and mental strength as well.”
The truth God has been laying on my heart over and over again is the absolute necessity of a heart filled with joy. We need joy for the cranky days, joy for those times when we look at what’s going on and have no idea what God is doing. We need joy when we begin to think that what we are doing is just futile–we can’t see anything happening at all to encourage us. We need joy to even begin to learn contentment. We need joy not just for our spiritual strength but for our physical and mental strength as well.
Think of it. Nehemiah says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Strength to do what? Pick up the rubble and rebuild the walls. The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us seven or more times that there is only one response to living life in a world that is so upside down and backward: rejoice, be happy (now there’s a word that scares a lot of Christians–happiness. As if God’s child doesn’t have every reason in the world to be happy!), even be merry! Habakkuk tells us when everything appears to be lost, and God is doing the one thing we don’t want Him to do, the response is simple: “Yet, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. I will do a little dance on the mountain top. In fact, I think I’ll write a song about the joy I have in Him.” The psalmist tells us, “Joy comes in the morning.” Paul tells us that the first step toward learning to be content is “Rejoice in the Lord always. I’ll say it again, rejoice!” When Paul thinks of those he has ministered to and so will be reunited with him in Heaven, he proclaims, “You are my crown of rejoicing.” The writer of Hebrews exclaims that our Savior endured the physical and spiritual suffering of the cross because of “the joy that was set before Him.”
When things seem to be overwhelming, just stop and have a “joy party.” Share with those around you all the things that bring you joy and happiness. Thankful for your family? Find joy in the wife or husband that He gave you that still loves you after all these years? Find joy in the times you blew it as a parent and five minutes later your child has come up to you and put his or her arms around you? Find joy when a student comes back years later to thank you for the impact you made on his or her life? Find joy in the comfort He gives you? Find joy in seeing others passionate about following Christ? Thank Him for all the things He’s given you to find joy in!
[Editor’s Note: The Philippians 4:8 Project is a daily centering of the WC community’s collective hearts and minds on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”]