Guest Post by Richard Rogers. Richard writes daily posts via his Facebook page. Follow him on Facebook here.
As Christians, we should be the most joyful people on the planet! All too often, however, and I admit my own guilt, we allow the world to take away or suppress our joy. Joy is one of the so-called “fruit of the Spirit,” the nine attributes of a Christian life listed in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. One Internet source defines “joy” as a state of mind and orientation of the heart characterized by contentment, confidence, and hope. I believe that joy should be distinguished from happiness. Unlike happiness which is tied to the ebb and flow of our circumstances, joy is a deep abiding state of the heart that persists whether we are going through times in our lives that are tough or terrific. As believers who have accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts by faith and received God’s forgiveness of our sins, we have every reason to be joyful based on the truth of God’s Word. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice,” said Paul in Philippians 4:4. Yes, fellow Christians, we should bask in the joy of our salvation and our hope in Christ.
As children who have been reconciled to God the Father, by the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, our hearts should be overflowing with joy because we are eternally secure in Christ. The Lord has credited our faith in His beloved Son as righteousness and sealed our salvation by the indwelling of our repentant hearts by the Holy Spirit. Our names have been indelibly written in the Lambs Book of Life and we have been given the most awesome gift imaginable, eternal life in the peace and presence of Almighty God. All the more reason to be joyful, we become equals with Jesus as children of God. Listen: “… and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8:17) We should joyfully praise and thank God continually that, as His adopted children, we can claim that and hundreds of other awesome promises God has made to followers of Jesus throughout the Bible.
Our joy as Christians, however, need not be limited solely to the great hope that we have of everlasting life. Believers have been promised a life here on earth that is rich and abundant as God works to bring benefits and a pattern of good to those who love Him and seek to express it through acts of kindness and service to others. And even though we have to endure the trials of life just like non-believers (maybe even more so in today’s ungodly world), we know that God is faithful to His promises and is there to strengthen and see us through the hardships that are inevitable in this life. Let’s guard against Satan’s attempts to rob us as our joy and, thus, hinder our efforts to witness to others of the love and saving-grace of Christ Jesus. If our joy seems to be on the wane, we need to ask God to forgive any sin or remove any obstacles to the joyful life that Christ gave His life for us to have. Let’s echo David’s request of God when he prayed with a repentant heart: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Psalm 51:12) Living a Christ-centered life is all about being joyful, here and hereafter!