The Art of Joyfulness
“Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.”
It’s all over social media, flurries of Instagram stories are being posted, and people are taking edgy photos like the sun is only shining right where they are in that one moment. It’s okay guys, the sun is still there!
In all seriousness, have you noticed how the mood of the nation has collectively lifted since the clouds so kindly decided to let the sun shine? In one sense, of course it has, we were literally made to live in the light of the Lord, and bring others out of darkness through Him. On the other hand, how quickly do we allow the simple fact of the weather to dictate our mood? Suddenly a grouchy nation has blossomed and discovered it’s joy because the sun is shining. How then do we cope when for the majority of the year it rains, or beasts from the East pop in to say hello?
Our response to the weather can be a light-hearted thing, but the situation is very much parallel to the spiritual journey of the art of joyfulness. A situation we’re in can often control our joyfulness- but it doesn’t have to.
“Joy has a name- Jesus!”
The past year for me has been predominantly a nightmare, with pretty much every area of my life feeling wildly out of control at some point, but I remember as things started to kick off, making a conscious decision to choose joy. To call on the name of Jesus when things didn’t make sense, and worshipping, not wallowing, in pain.
It’s not natural, it’s not easy. It is fruitful and it is life-giving. It’s in the place of choosing joy that you discover deeper intimacy with God, that you come back with testimony after testimony of God working things together for your good, that you realise that no cloud can really mask the source of true joy.
As I made the daily decision to choose joy, believing with all my might that nothing can eclipse the love of God, this became my reality. I became so aware of God’s power that whilst struggles still happened, they had less and less impact emotionally and spiritually. Because I have JOY.
As you navigate the rainy, the sunny, the stormy, and the calm of university life, will you choose joy always? As exams and essay deadlines loom, and you feel cheated sitting in the library whilst the sun shines, will you choose joy? Let Jesus be your coping mechanism for the end of this semester- it will be an excellent demonstration of the power of Jesus to your housemates and coursemates who are struggling with the same deadlines as you.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”