Radical joy

Shalom, to you my Friend and Co-Minister in the Great Commission…
Everyone seeks fulfillment, happiness, or joy. But how do we find a life of joy? First, we must be saved. Without salvation, there’s no real basis for a joyful life. But after that, how do we need to live as believers to find a life of joy?
In English, when we speak of joy or happiness, we are almost always centering on a ‘noun.’ We view joy as a ‘thing.’ And in modern culture, we see it as a commodity – something we either have or do not have. And if we do not have it, we have to get it, or somehow procure it.
Further, in order to get joy we believe we have to get something else that will allow us to have it. In order to get joy, we have to get married, or success, or a house, or a car, or a thing. We have to get joy indirectly, by getting something else.
But the way of joy as given in God’s Word is radically different.
First, in order to live a life of joy, we have to not spend our lives pursuing it. We are to live pursuing something else – The Kingdom of God and His righteousness. And then all these other things will be added to us.
Second, we are not to find joy by seeking to acquire something else that will then give us joy – We are to get joy directly.
Third, the key doesn’t lie in joy as a thing or commodity. The key is not in relating to joy primarily as a noun – but relating to it, as it often appears in the original Hebrew of the Bible – as a verb.
In other words, if joy is simply a noun, something you have or have not, then if you don’t have it, you’re pretty much stuck. But if joy is a verb, then it doesn’t matter what you have in this world or don’t have – it’s something you do.
So the Word of God does not instruct us to have or get joy – but rather to rejoice. In fact, it tells us to rejoice always. In order to rejoice always, your joy has to be unconditional and not based on anything in this world. The only way to rejoice always is to rejoice in that which is not of this world – to rejoice in the Lord.
It is that unconditional joy by which Paul and Silas could praise and worship God in the midst of a prison cell. In fact, it was in a prison cell that Paul wrote the words ‘Rejoice in the Lord always!’ For the child of God, joy is a choice, a choice that must be made at all times and in all circumstances. But it is a joy that overcomes the world. For the way of the Lord is the way of joy, a joy that comes not by running after it, but by choosing it in light of the unconditionally present reason of the Good News of great joy!
Choose to rejoice this month, no matter when. And may God greatly bless you as you do!
Your brother and co-laborer
in His love and service,
Jonathan
See Message: The Unconditionally Joyful Life