The Important Thing to Remember About Joy

It’s not uncommon when I start going on about joy, some people start to get a little miffed. 

The most controversial post I ever shared on Instagram was a Billy Sunday quote that said “If you don’t have joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.“ 

I received a lot of replies about how such a philosophy was throwing people with mental health issues under the bus. It wasn’t fair to expect to be joyful. Life can be really hard sometimes. How dare you say that my Christianity is proportionate to my joy?

I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to hear – that quote convicted me in a way few have. And I think it is very true that there’s often a leak in my Christianity somewhere – there’s something that I am not trusting God about, something I’m trying to control, something that I think should be different and I won’t accept what is.

And I don’t think that should be terribly surprising.

We are not Christians by virtue of being the pinnacle of the ideal, but because we know Christ, love Christ, and are consistently seeking to know and love him more. And we are not going to be great at that all the time.

Or at least *I’m* not. Like really not.

In a way I think that the promise of unshakable joy that we have in Christianity as part of what makes it worth it. Obviously our goal and prize is eternity in heaven, but God isn’t saying that the only good from knowing and loving him will be in some future distant plane. It can be here and now, in the joy that He wants to pour out into us, and when we are whole we can hold it.

Instead of feeling accused by our lack of joy, which is frequently the handiwork of the bad guy (that we don’t want to pay any attention to), I pray that we can feel invited by our lack of joy in the hardest moments of our life.

We read in the Bible and from the lives of the holy men and women that have gone before us about seemingly unbearable torture, suffering, and brutal deaths. And yet we see that they are characterized by this kind of unshakable joy that seems to make them superhuman. 

But they aren’t super human. They just completely trust and love the One who is fully God and fully man - I suppose the one and only true Superhuman.

And so we find hope in this promise of joy, not because we have it perfectly in full today, but because we have hope that we can and we will walk in joy more and more as we continue to come to know and love Jesus more fully each day. 

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