“Joy is the serious business of heaven”— C.S. Lewis
“Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”— G. K. Chesterton
“Rejoice in the Lord always”—Philippians 4:4
I am by nature melancholy and analytical in temperament. I would not make a good salesman. I like to say I am neither an optimist or a pessimist. I am a realist. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is, “Is it morning, already?” Yesterday someone asked me how my day was going before I was leading soccer practice. I said, “Not so good, but I’ll get through it. Ask me again tomorrow, ok?”, and then we both chuckled. But I do believe I have the joy of Christ in my heart.
I am not sure you need to have the pep and excitement of a cheerleader to be a joyful person. Joy runs deeper in one’s bones than enthusiasm or excitement. Joy is a gift from God. Joy is “orientation of the heart” that allows you to live in a “settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope” (Theopedia). Joy comes from being grounded enough to believe that ““All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,” as Julian of Norwich said.
I am joyful when I can acknowledge the difficulty of my present circumstances, and realize that the present circumstances I am in are not the end of my story. That is why James says we can consider it joy when difficult circumstances come our way, because we know in the end that God can use many of those circumstances to make us stronger, healthier, and happier (James 1: 2-4)
I am joyful when I shun anxiety. Worry is the great enemy of joy. After Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord, he follows that immediately by saying, “Be anxious for nothing…” in Philippians 4. When we succumb to worry and anxiety, we live in a black hole of bitterness and darkness that robs us of our joy.
I am joyful when I live with purpose. When I have a direction for my life and energy, I know what I do matters. The Bible says Jesus’ joy is made complete when we love one another and keep Jesus’ commands.
Finally, I am joyful when I choose to make the things of God my focus. Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
God bless you!