I hope you are finding different opportunities this week to experience joy and to be able to share that with your friends and those around you.
As I was looking back on our lesson, it occurred to me that there might still be some confusion over how we actually look like we have joy. Hopefully I managed to adequately explain why we should have it and how joy comes from being content in your circumstances (Paul in prison) while also being assured of the hope that any current struggle will not last (Jesus on the cross).
So how does this look? Well, a lot of this is going to come down to how you act. As we can see in Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount those in the Kingdom of God live a certain way. They respond to situations in a specific manner that is contrary to the world they live in. Again, Jesus does not change His level of love for you based on how many of these you get right or how often you find yourself forgetting these things. However, if you claim to be a follower of Christ, your actions and attitudes will begin to look different than those who do not profess a relationship with Him.
How you respond to life’s situations will tell those around you where your joy is. Does this mean you cannot get upset or have a bad day? Absolutely not. There are times when anger is justified. Being angry over the mistreatment of others is completely justified, but when your anger begins to cloud your judgement and you begin to act out in anger (punching things, hurting yourself or others–physically or verbally) you might be telling those around you–believers or non–that there is no hope in justice. You are saying that there is no good that can come from this; that there is no hope.
I know you don’t believe these things, but those who don’t know Jesus can easily make this assumption. They don’t understand hope, truth, grace, and justice the way Jesus does.
If this is a struggle for you, that’s ok. I don’t have it down yet, either. But this is where we get to actively seek God and pray that He might give us opportunities to learn. This is a scary prayer, but one that will help us grow.
When you slip (as we all will), it the perfect opportunity to speak honestly with those who experienced you slip. You get to repent in front of them–an opportunity I am sure is rarely taken. You get to explain how your reaction was wrong and how it doesn’t demonstrate the things you actually feel in your heart and how one day, the injustices will be made right; how one day the pain will cease, and how the things we experience here are temporary, all because of Jesus. Bad things will continue to happen, but you can still point to the hope found in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
This is how you can live out joy.
It’s more than a t-shirt or sticker.
It’s a lifestyle that is constantly being shaped by your trust in Jesus.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below.
I love you guys,
As an added bonus, I have attached a link to a video I found the day after our lesson on Joy. It’s an interesting take. Take a look and let me know what this video makes you feel.
Have a great week.