Joy

I am afraid that we, as Christian, have misrepresented God and His Word.  It is entirely true that our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:29)  It is equally true that we hear so many sermons on the goodness and mercy of God that many forget that God, Himself, has said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay.  (Hebrews 10:30)  Maybe it is through the influence of these two verses, and others like them, that we have come to believe that God is somber and totally serious, and that His children should be the same.  Somehow, we have forgotten that Christians should be the happiest people in the entire world.

How do I justify this statement?  In at least 26 verses in the New Testament, the word “joy” appears, with the suggestion that it is an identifying mark of a Christian.  Let’s look at just a few examples:

  • Romans 14:17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
  • Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
  • I Thessalonians 1:6  And ye become imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Spirit
  • Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising shame, and hath set down at the right hand of the throne of God

In addition, there are at lest 28 examples of joy given to us in the New Testament.  Let us look at just a few of these:

Given so great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), how can we call ourselves Christians and not be the most joyful people in town?  Christians are not called to be exclusively serious and somber. We are specifically taught by

  1. direct command
  2. necessary inference
  3. approved example

all of which portray the Christian as a joyful person.  Please keep in mind that joyful does not necessarily mean happy.  Happy is a temporary state of mind, dependent upon the current circumstances.  Joyful, on the other hand, is that  peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:1), and which is given only to God’s children, the members of His family.

Are you a child of God?  Then, let the world know that by being  basically joyful person.

What say ye?