“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
“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” Nehemiah 8:10
“One second of joy is worth 12 hours of pleasure.” C.S. Lewis
“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?” Ann Voskamp
“This witness of authentic joy is a profound challenge to our contemporary Christian witness because it’s not when the sun is shining that our joy is tested but in times of terrible storms when we will see if our joy is for real. I do wonder if imprisoned Christians are not the ones in jail but the ones who lack gratitude, a life of prayer, and joy without the purpose of praising God. I wonder if Paul in prison is actually freer than some of us whose spirits are enslaved by terror and fear because joy is liberating in its own way and can find expression in any situation of life. And because it is so free, it seeks to spread this spiritual fruit to others which is why Paul constantly stresses ‘all of you’ showing how joy aims to be inclusive of others and never selfish but always desiring to be shared, always spilling over in excess. Joy is also hopeful as it anticipates ‘the day of Christ.’ It operates with Advent in mind as it recognises that today is not the only day there is; there is ‘the day of Christ’ and we live under that horizon of hope and can experience a foretaste of joy divine.” Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery
1. Start each day by giving thanks for ten things in your life.
2. Pray for a month that God would fill you with joy in spite of circumstances.
We can spend much of our lives trying to curate our circumstances in such a way so as to feel happy and safe and settled. Keeping things ‘just right’ and under control. Accumulating things in order to fuel happiness. So much so that anxiety is rife as we fight the perpetual battle to keep life good. The Joy of the Christian is utterly radical in today’s world because it is not determined by the reality of our circumstances but by the reality of Jesus Christ. When our life is built upon him as our rock, it doesn’t matter how rocky our situation becomes; we always have a reason to know deep contentedness and delight.
Mark Sayers, lead pastor of Red Church in Melbourne, shares his thoughts and experiences on the practice of Joy.