Where to find real joy
When and why do you find real joy?
Often in my life I find my joy going up and down. If the holiday time is fast approaching, or even just the weekend, I feel good, but as soon as it starts coming to an end, I don’t feel that good anymore. As if the Sunday night blues are stealing my joy.
I realize all too well that real joy is not found in holidays or having a day off. Maybe Paul can teach us where to find real joy:
17Even if I am executed here and now, I’ll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ’s altar, a part of your rejoicing. 18But turnabout’s fair play—you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.
Paul’s life teaches us that we are bathed in real joy when we take God’s message of salvation into the world. Paul is driven to spread the Gospel with everything inside him. And nothing will stop him. He simply refuses to be silenced, even when threatened with imprisonment if he doesn’t stop preaching. It doesn’t stop him. He is not afraid. Even when he does end up in prison in extremely poor conditions, he can’t keep quiet.
He is burning with joy, because you see, his joy is not founded on vacations and weekends. It doesn’t matter how bad his circumstances are, he keeps dancing with joy, because he keeps sharing God’s message. His joy is found in people understanding and being lit up with the Gospel. I can actually see Paul getting a kick as people walk from the darkness into God’s light. This is what drives Paul and it is on this that his joy is based.
However, Paul doesn’t stop here; he takes it to the utmost. He is prepared to die, to give his body and life to share the Gospel. He wants to give this sacrifice of himself as a gift to God. It will be a privilege for him to give something to God in this way.
Well, I don’t know if I’m prepared to give up everything. I don’t know if I’d be prepared to give up my family, my friends, my life, my everything. I’m afraid that if I’m being challenged to do just that I wouldn’t know how to respond. I’m afraid that I would duck out and deny God.
And you? Are you prepared to give your everything, even our life, for God?
It makes me realize once again that we often look for happiness and joy in all the wrong places. Real joy and happiness isn’t found in cars and houses and weekends or holidays. Not even in other people. No, it lies in sharing God’s Message.
We’ll have to help one another with this one. We’ll have to encourage one another to spread God’s message of salvation in the world. Maybe in doing a good deed for someone else; maybe with a few encouraging words; maybe helping someone bear hardship by showing unselfish love. And let’s be direct: It will take some doing. Money, time and energy, especially when we can least afford it. But that is where real joy can be found. Right here!
Do you have real happiness?
Are you prepared to give everything for others?
Father, please help me to follow Paul’s example and like him, find joy whenever I have the chance to do something for you. Please open my eyes so that I can see where You want me to serve You. Amen