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. Joy is the nature of the Father and the chief element of the atmosphere around his throne. Joy is a necessity.

“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

Rejoicing is the will of God for your life; it’s the desire of God 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.

God is happy, and we live daily under his smile. Grace is favor, and favor means God is satisfied (Jesus did that, not us, we just 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 that we develop through our rejoicing is our best aid to faith. It’s the joyless areas of our lives that must be submitted to fierce examination. Return to joy with the utmost urgency. Reclaim your inner being as a place of rejoicing. Joy is something that is unaffected by circumstances. It is an orientation of the heart.

Joy is a place of contentment, confidence, and hope. It’s a state of mind (we are what we think, but we’re not always what we think we are). If joy is the atmosphere of heaven then the environment that we reproduce must reflect that. If we really want to learn to reflect the culture of heaven then thanksgiving, gratitude, rejoicing, and celebration is part of the deal.

Elton Trueblood said, “I don’t trust the theology of any person who doesn’t laugh.” The reason is because 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. How can a constant spirit of heaviness be trusted?

Return to joy all ye negative persons! Take off the spirit of heaviness. Put on the garment of praise. I think I’m going to blow my shofar now…

(Sources: Elton Trueblood; Graham Cooke)

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