Faith Forum Article by Pastor Timothy Lourash printed March 25, 2017 in Curry Coastal Pilot - used by permission
I cannot imagine a life without joy. I think we all need joy in our lives, especially in today's culture. We as Christians want the culture of heaven, which is established in celebration.
Scripture contains various commands for us to rejoice. The command to rejoice is just as strong as any command found in scripture. Rejoicing and giving thanks is good for the soul. It creates in us a core that isn't easily affected by the circumstances of life. All of heaven rejoices in the presence of God. We who are god's children should join in the celebration of heaven.
Joy is the nature of God and the atmosphere around His throne.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" - Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
Rejoicing is the will of God for your life; it's the desire of God for every believer. The power of joy cannot be overestimated. The question is always how, when life seems to take us down or steal our Joy? We worry, we struggle with our desire to control everything, and long to have a guarantee that life will work out. The problem with that is we will always have struggles; we can't control everything, we can't control anything, especially the things that matter the most: our relationships, health and lasting security.
Ho do we experience joy, with all the uncertainties of life? We recognize that we are not God - and relinquish control of our lives. This is where we learn to exercise our faith. If our faith is not in ourselves, or in the things we gather, but in Christ alone, why do we waste time and energy trying to control all the items of our lives that we cannot control anyway?
So, let us rejoice! So let us practice our faith and rejoice! The perspective that we get through our rejoicing is our best aid to faith. The joyless areas of our lives must be submitted to God. Reclaim you inner thoughts as a place of rejoicing. Joy is something that is unaffected by circumstances. It is an orientation of the heart with faith in God. Joy is a place of contentment, confidence and hope. It's a state of mind. If joy is a part of heaven and a command of God, then we must reflect that as those who wear his name.
We don't express joy and rejoicing out of naïve thinking that life will not have problem. We express joy while enduring the trials of life, and our faith in God and His goodness. Do we truly trust in that goodness? Do we truly have a deep, abiding faith in God? Is that just something we say but have never learned to rest our lives on that truth?
If you are struggling to experience joy in all of life - the good and the bad - then I ask, "Where is your faith?" Have joy today! Quit trying to be God and give all things over to him and focus on the culture of heaven and rejoice. Again, I say rejoice!