If there was ever a time the people of the world needed to experience real joy, it’s during these hard and uncertain days of COVID-19. People are scared of catching the virus or transmitting it to a loved one. We do not travel about our communities or interact as freely with people. Students are uncertain regarding their upcoming classes and whether they will be in person or online. Church leaders try to navigate how, and if, members will gather for corporate worship and Bible study. All the while, we are mindful of the increasing cases and death rates due to COVID-19.
During such perilous times, people need to see Christ-followers exhibit joy.
Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that changes with our circumstances. Joy is much deeper than happiness. Paul mentions joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Joy is a product of the work of the Holy Spirit within the life of the believer. Only Christ followers possess true joy. Why is this true?
Joy is a result of our salvation. Peter writes, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 (CSB) We have joy because we have Christ. We have joy because we’ve been forgiven of our sins based upon the atoning blood of Jesus. We have joy because we’ve been adopted by God through Jesus Christ. We have joy because we can look forward to our resurrection because of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and return. We have joy because we have eternal life, knowing God through Jesus Christ (John 17:3). All of these aspects of our salvation bring us joy that is “inexpressible and glorious.”
Do you possess such joy? Do you live your life with such joy?
I want to encourage you today to reflect on your salvation. Reflect on the love that God showed you in sending Jesus Christ to live a perfect life in your place that you could not live and to die a death in your place that you deserved. Reflect on the fact that, through Christ, you have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Think about how that personal relationship involves knowing God intimately. Read passages of Scripture that deal with the joy that God’s people possess.
Then, live out that joy in your life. Live lives that reflect the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Shine the joy of Christ in the midst of this dark time. Share the joy of the gospel in your conversations with people.
People need to see Christ-followers who live joyful lives. If we want to live like Jesus, our lives must reflect His joy.