so there was much joy in that city. [acts 8:8]
what brings you joy?
maybe you feel joy when you are with loved ones. maybe you feel joy when you win a big game, or when you buy a new car or house. maybe it’s when your children are peaceful and playing nicely or maybe it’s when your kids leave for school and the house is quiet. whatever it is that brings you joy, ask yourself these questions…
- is it permanent or is it temporary?
- is it constant or circumstantial?
- is it untouchable or can it be taken from you?
as believers, we receive joy because our Father and King is a joy-filled God. he shared perfect joy between himself, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for all eternity past. his joy overflowed into creation, making everything we see around us. and is overjoyed to share this joy with his creation. he longs for us to know this same joy, so even after we corrupted creation with sin, he made a way for us to know it once again. he sent his Joy, wrapped in human flesh, to live as one of us, to die on behalf of us, and to raise to life again to restore the joy between creation and Creator, for all who would believe in the name of Jesus.
that’s why these new believers could have joy. that’s why, in the midst of trial and tribulation, with those who were ravaging the church seeking out anyone associated with the name of Jesus Christ to drag them off to prison, joy could not be stolen. that’s why Philip, having lost a dear friend and co-laborer in a brutal murder, having lost his home, having been scattered from his local body of believers, could continue preaching the gospel with all boldness. and that’s why you and i can face each day with everything we need. because we have the joy of the presence of Jesus Christ. the joy of knowing and being known by our Creator. the joy of the Holy Spirit living in us. these things are lasting. these things are constant. these things are untouchable by others. we have joy because Jesus is joy, and because we have Jesus!
hebrews 12:1-2 says it is for joy that Jesus was able to endure the cross. the excruciating brutality. the mocking and scorning. the undeserved humiliation. all bearable because the joy on the other side was that much greater. do you look to this same joy to run this race that has been set before you? in the day to day, are you fixing your eyes on the One who has made it to the finish? who has authored your faith and promises to perfect it when he returns?
the joy that was set before Jesus was joy inexpressible. to be reunited with the Father, his glory restored, his mission fulfilled, to spend the rest of the age interceding for the saints, to spend eternity with his pure and spotless bride. is this the joy you look to?
today, in the presence of our joy-filled Father, ask for this to be your joy as well. repent of whatever you’ve allowed to steal your joy, and ask for a changed heart to know the permanent, constant, and untouchable joy of the presence of God.
though you have not seen him, you love him. though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [1 peter 1:8]
~ arwen eastman