Return to Joy

You cannot afford to live without joy. The culture of heaven is established in celebration. Scripture contains various commands for us to rejoice. Giving thanks is good for the soul. It creates an inner territory that isn’t easily affected by external circumstances.

All of heaven rejoices in the presence of God. As Kingdom heirs, we should join in the celebration of heaven before we get there. It is worth celebrating now. Joy is the nature of the Father and the chief element of the atmosphere around His throne. Joy is a necessity for a follower of Christ.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

God Embodies Joy.

Joy exudes from God without effort. Joy is who God is and what He does. In His presence, one doesn’t have to try harder to be happy because joy is a natural effect of being in Christ. In His presence, there is fullness of joy. This means that there is nothing lacking.

The Father is not trying to bring you to a place of joy. He is trying to bring you to Himself because He is the embodiment of joy. The expression of joy is the atmosphere surrounding God’s presence. When we learn to abide with Jesus, we become recklessly abandoned in divine celebration.

Rejoicing is the will of God for your life. It is the desire of the Father for every believer. The power of joy cannot be overestimated. Delighting in the Lord is an infectious way to live. Joy spills over into others people’s lives when we allow it to be an authentic part of our own.

You Can’t Afford to Live Without Joy.

God is happy, and we live daily under His smile. Grace is God’s favor. Favor means God is satisfied. Jesus did that, not us, yet we benefit from it. God delights in us and we in Him because of Jesus. As you learn to be thrilled by God your enjoyment in life increases. You cannot afford to be without joy.

The perspective we develop through rejoicing is our best aid to faith. It is the joyless areas of our lives that must be submitted to fierce examination. Believers everywhere need to return to joy with utmost urgency. Divine joy is unaffected by temporal circumstances when it becomes an orientation of the heart. Joy is a place of contentment, confidence, and everlasting hope.

If joy is the atmosphere of heaven then the environment that we reproduce here needs to reflect that. If we really want to mirror the culture of the Kingdom then the fruit of joy—gratitude, rejoicing, celebration—is all part of the deal.

Elton Trueblood said, “I don’t trust the theology of any person who doesn’t laugh.” I believe the reason is that they are claiming to understand something about the most joyous being in the universe, yet they don’t exhibit one of God’s primary qualities—joy.

A constant spirit of heaviness cannot be trusted. So, return to joy all ye negative persons! Take off the spirit of heaviness. Put on the garment of praise. I’m so happy I think I’ll go blow my shofar now!

Sources: (1) Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster; (2) Approaching the Heart of Prophecy by Graham Cooke

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