I made a “J” (for “joy”) with my hand in front of a map of America. We have relentlessly pursued happiness — but somehow we have missed out on joy. Happiness depends on happy happenings; but joy flows from deep within. It transcends and overcomes our circumstances. America desperately needs joy!
Joy radiates love and peace.
–America currently appears to be full of anger, fear, sadness, name calling, depression, anxiety, hatred, retaliation, bitterness, insecurity, unforgiveness, pride, hostility, etc. — but where is the joy?
–JOY is a 3-step process (and unlike happiness, joy doesn’t depend on circumstances): Step 1) J: Put Jesus first in your life. Step 2) O: Put others 2nd. Step 3) Y: Forget about yourself so that God’s joy can flow through you.
Our violent land desperately needs Christ-followers to demonstrate Jesus’ command to bless those who curse us and to love our enemies. Yet we’re not even effectively demonstrating blessing and loving those of a different “race” or political party. Is your love growing cold? Are you being desensitized? (“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” –Matthew 24:12.) Joy can empower us to love unconditionally.
We can’t stop the anger in our society, by name calling or violence. That just breeds more of the same. Only demonstrations of the supernatural joy and love of Christ can transform a heart from anger to love. Do we have the courage show others Christ’s sacrificial love and forgiveness?
If we don’t learn to experience the inner joy of the living Jesus we will continue to wallow in and swallow the hollow pursuit of personal pleasure, self-satisfaction, unhealthy competition with others. Outward bravado can talk tough; but it takes inner joy to love and forgive.