Navigation #6

Outside In: Joy

God constantly calls us to joy and to rejoice. The message to find joy in and through everything we do is clear. We can never have too much joy in our lives.

Joy is defined in a number of different ways. The primary one from Webster’s dictionary is “a feeling of great happiness.”

The verb form of joy is to rejoice, which is another term we find quite frequently in the Bible.

When we consider the many synonyms of joy, we begin to realize how much this emotion shows up in Scripture. Some of those synonyms are: delight, jubilation, triumph, exultation, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, felicity and even rapture (the happy kind of rapture, not the disappearing kind). If you were to think of it in simplistic terms, imagine joy as being the top tier of pleasure and happiness, the pinnacle of that which makes us feel good and all warm and fuzzy inside.

There are many things that bring us joy in life. They range from the physical to the emotional, and, of course, even emerge in the spiritual side of our lives. Naturally, then, we begin to wonder what the source of joy is, what might be the genesis of it and why, maybe, we even need it.

For starters, joy is an emotion that God is strongly calling us to partake in. In his letter to the people of Thessalonica, Paul wrote that we are to “rejoice always.” Naturally, this will always be easier said than done. But the message to find joy in and through everything we do is clear.

This means that we should enjoy our work or our vocation. It means we need to find joy in and with those that we love, and rejoice each and every blessing we have in life. Granted, this cannot be a constant, never-ending feeling or sensation. However, it should be present in some form or fashion and be at the core of everything we do and experience.

We must also realize that maybe we are vessels of joy, or could be vessels of joy, for others as well. Perhaps there are others who look toward us to bring them some form of hope, joy or excitement in their life.

Maybe that’s one of our many duties as Christians—to show others that we can experience joy in and through God and God alone. We should let others see this in us us and know that we in fact do and should rejoice in the Lord.

There are, of course, things in this world and this life that can completely sap our joy. But we should not let them. We need to hold on to and protect that joy as much as possible. We might need others to help us hold onto and preserve it. Or we might need others to help us find it if it has been missing.

God constantly calls us to joy, and in a similar manner, to rejoice. There are almost too many scripture passages to count that do that. This does not mean that we cannot feel fear, sadness, anger or disgust. No, those are still prevalent in our lives and in our emotional bank too, as it should be.

The true beauty of all these emotions is that all of them are essential. All of these emotions are needed in our life. They are a large part of what gives us our true humanity. They are frustrating, rewarding and memorable all at the same time.

The memories we make and the way we think, relate and live all are impacted by our emotions and have the imprint of our emotions on them. As a result, we need to lean on God and our church family to be the glue that holds them all together. And, through all of it, the joys, the sadnesses, the fears, the angers and the disgusts, we can begin to realize the full potential of the world God created, the people God created us to be, and the true beauty and joy one can find in life itself.

Part 5 of a 5-Part Series.

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