Thursday, October 8, 2015

Meditation on Joy

I recently ran across an article stating that the Yale Center for Faith and Culture has been studying joy since 2014. This gave me joy. It is one of my favorite topics related to my faith. The scholars say that knowledge of God’s Word produces joy, and I believe it. All through seminary, I discovered that the more I learned about my faith and the more deeply I explored the spiritual disciplines, the greater my joy grew. Did you know that joy is mentioned over 400 times in the Bible? Yet it so rarely comes up in modern discussions. As Nehemiah wrote (8:10): “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Joy comes from life with God. We do not seek it ourselves but are given joy as a gift by God, a gift of salvation. Joy fills us, makes the heart leap (Psalm 28:7) and fills the tongue with “songs of joy” (Psalm 126:2). Joy comes when we repent from wrongdoing and return home to God from guilty, wayward paths. In fact, turning away from wrongdoing, calling out for forgiveness from God, brings rejoicing in heaven, as Jesus tells us in Luke 15:10. Paul calls on all us Christians to “Rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12). Good works done for humanity out of love of God and all God has done for us produces joy. Numerous Bible verses declare that the “deep power of joy” is that joy is more powerful, more constant, and more enduring than the adverse circumstances of life. So, live with joy. Stand out as a joyful presence in a society so often dour and afraid. Let your joy be a light to others, bringing them out of darkness and into the joyful presence of God.

~ Pastor Jeff Snyder

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