Joy is a curious thing: fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), one of the three building-blocks of God’s Kingdom (Romans 14:17), a personal gift from Jesus himself (John 15, 16, & 17) and a discipline commanded of every follower of Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:16). Joy is the overflow of the Life of God, a wellspring of the presence of the Holy Spirit. David, the shepherd King of Israel, caught a glimpse of divine joy the day God’s presence entered Jersusalem:
“Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy in his dwelling place.” (I Chronicles 16: 27)I imagine that among all the manifestations of the throne room of God Almighty, along with burning holiness, peals of thunder and the voice of many waters--there is joy. Joy eternal. Joy unworldly. Joy forever.
Joy springs up in the most unusual places: in the life of a homeless dumpster-diver who regularly attended my church; in the tears of a woman holding her baby in the first moments of life; in the thrill of watching loved ones receive their just reward; and in the heart of Jesus even as he hung in naked agony on a Roman instrument of torture:
“Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2)Happiness is a reflex of circumstances, Joy flows never-ending from the wellspring of faith. If you’re looking for a meditation this week (and you are, aren’t you?), may I suggest you ask the Father about joy? It’s worth pondering all week long: God himself dwells in joy. God himself dispenses joy. God himself commands joy. What Student of Jesus could be without it? Seriously--is there such a thing as a disciple without joy?
He dwells in joy, he dispenses joy, and he invites the faithful to enter into his joy. Today. This week: he has measured out joy just for you.