During this festive season, one of the buzzwords you’ll see on ornaments, t-shirts, and farmhouse chic boards is “joy.” We are surrounded and bombarded with this concept of “joy,” particularly as we gear up to celebrate Christmas, but do we as Christians understand joy? Do we grasp what it means to “rejoice always”?
When the Bible refers to “joy inexpressible” or “rejoicing always,” it is not referring to “happiness.” Happiness and joy are like two different types of fires. Happiness is like a fire started with lighter fluid; it flares up for a short while with bright and beautiful flames, but dies quickly without additional fuel. Happiness requires constant fueling or it will burn out. Joy, by contrast, is more like hot coals that have been slowly started and carefully tended. The coals glow for hours, occasionally flickering with blue flames. The temperature is much hotter compared to the happiness fire, but you have to be closer to feel it’s heat. Even if you throw water on this fire, you’ll have to bury it with sand to truly extinguish it. Joy is a stronger, lasting fire.
Happiness is momentary, joy is eternal.
Earthly happiness depends entirely on circumstances. When life is good, we’re happy; when something goes wrong, we are not. The joy we have in the Lord does not depend on how we’re feeling, how tired we are, or our status in life.
We have joy because the Son of God came to earth to fulfill God’s prophesied plan of salvation.
We have joy because Jesus loved us enough to be the sacrifice of atonement for our sins, bringing us peace with God.
We have joy because He rose from the dead, showing us that He has the power to raise our souls to eternal life.
When we obey the gospel, we are promised love, hope, peace, and joy, but we expect to feel all these things. When we don’t feel loved, hopeful, peaceful, or joyful, we get discouraged. These promises are not mere fickle feelings, they are anchors. No matter what curveballs we face as we walk by faith, the Lord is the source of our joy, and he is inextinguishable. Our job is to warm ourselves in His glow and remain in His light. Unfortunately, we often look to other fires to bring us warmth because they look higher or brighter, but they are ultimately inferior.
For this month’s scripture writing plan, we will focus on scriptures about this joy we have in Christ. Most of these scriptures contain examples of people who rejoiced for the following reasons:
- God sent Jesus, his son, to earth
- They sought the Lord
- They found salvation in Christ
- They suffered for Christ
There are also passages talking about our joy, like the one in 1 Peter:
Though you have not seen [Jesus], 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,obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1.8-9, ESV
As I mentioned in last month’s scripture writing post, here are some different ways you can use this plan:
- Write the passage on an index card and post on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or computer screen so you can meditate on the message you copied that day.
- Send that index card to a friend in need of encouragement!
- Write your scriptures in a journal, spiral notebook, or on a blank sheet of paper, highlighting any key words/concepts with a different colored pen/marker/highlighter.
- Discuss that day’s scripture with a friend, your children, and/or your spouse.
- Get a daily group text going with some friends and discuss some aspect of that passage that jumped out at you.
To download a printable plan, please click the link below:
If you have any questions or problems with the scripture writing plan, please comment below, email me at elihuscorner @ yahoo . com, or private message me through the Elihu’s Corner Facebook Page.
May the Lord surround you the light of His love and fill you with His joy inexpressible!