Today I wanted to talk to readers about something that many Christians struggle with. I didn’t realize this was a trending topic in Christian communities until I started doing research on it and the material I studied opened my eyes and inspired me to approach this article from a completely different perspective.
What I want to talk to you all about today is Joy.
What is joy?
Do you have it?
If not, how can you obtain it? And if so, how do you maintain it?
If you don’t have joy, why not? If you do, what makes you joyous?
And, most interesting, is it sinful for Christians not to have joy?
These are the questions I asked myself and saw being asked by others as I dived into my study. Can you believe that only 31% of Americans say they are happy with their life and health as of 2016? That means 3 out of 10 people you see every day are wearing a genuine smile. As gloomy as that sounds, the number of sincerely happy Christians is only slightly higher at 40% in the US. That means, 4 out of every 10 Christians you meet are happy with their lives and their health.
While, Christians in American might be happier than non-Christians, still you cannot ignore the critically low number of reported happy Believers. Why is the number of satisfied Children of God so low?
Is it because religion is a farce? A go-to feel-good mantra that we chant once a week when things get tough but once church is over and we’re back to the “real world” we’re just the same as everyone else?
No. Not at all.
Let me first say that Christianity is not a religion, no matter what the politically correct schmucks on the television tell you, Christianity is not a religion, a practice, a system, or a business. It is an honest and precious marriage to Christ Jesus our Creator and Lord and Savior. And the reason why only 40% of Christians are happy in this marriage is because only 40% have come to understand what it truly means to be a bride of Christ.
There is a worship song that I love dearly because of its painfully true lyrics: “It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down. But give me the strength to be able to say, ‘it is well with my soul’.”
How many of us can relate to these lyrics?
As a Christian it is incredibly easy to stand and raise my hands in praise on Sunday when everything is good and well: the sun is shining, I got a great parking space right in front of the church doors, bills are paid, grass is green, and my love life is on fire. Who wouldn’t praise God when your life is good and your health is even better? But what about the bad times? How can we sing ‘joyful joyful, we adore thee’ when we are not joyful? How can we sing ‘Amazing grace’ when we have no grace?
When you take a look at the Word of God, its very simple. Take this scripture for example: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 KJV
The Bible didn’t ask us how our day was, it simply said the day was the Lord’s and because of that—we should rejoice. No matter what happens to us from the moment we wake up until the second we fall asleep, we should rejoice because—despite our circumstances—God is still in charge and that is reason enough to fill you with joy. Why? Because when you understand that God is in charge, then you know that He sees you in your situation and He hears your prayers. In time, your troubles will pass as long as you keep your eyes forward.
Another one of my favorite scriptures on joy is this one: “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience…” Romans 5:3 KJV
While the mention of joy may not be in this particular scripture, the reference is definitely clear. Glory in tribulations, doesn’t mean to wallow in your sorrows, it means to be lifted up. Hold your head up when you face hard times; that is your learning period—not your time of complaining and crying and grumbling.
The reason that only 40% of Believers are truly happy is because they have learned how to rejoice even when its hard. They have learned to find the good in their situation and recognize that Christ is still in charge. It’s a shame that 60% of Christians have not matured enough to learn this concept, but now that you read this article and have been presented with scriptural guidance on joy—how will you live out the rest of your spiritual life? What kind of Child of God will you be? The 40% or the 60%?
*Song reference: Even If by MercyMe*