You know him or her. Scowl on their face. All gray skies and clouds missing their silver linings. Their only good day is one that has come to its end. They lack any semblance of joy and their days are filled with complaints and worries. These people are all around us, and truthfully, they are us from time to time. We have some honest questions we should be asking of ourselves. Am I a joyous person? Do I always focus on the negative? Do I look to find fault or complain?
It’s wise to start with the idea that joy is a vital part of our Christian life. In order to build trusting and fruitful relationships with others, God would wish us to be joyful. In fact, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) so it obviously plays a role in our ability to minister to others. So where does joy come from and how can we get more of it?
Looking back at the description of a miserable person at the beginning of this post, it’s easy to see that we often blame our lack of joy on others or our circumstances. While I agree that our environment puts us in difficult situations sometimes, we ultimately make the decision how we’ll react. Joy is an individual responsibility and not someone else’s job. Although that’s important to remember, as a Christian, we do have the added role of contributing to the joy others. Our perfect example, Jesus, came to contribute to our joy (Hebrews 12:2-3) as he selflessly served us and ultimately died for our transgressions. If that is the model we have set before us, what should our response be?
We should first have joy ourselves. It’s often said that Christians should be the most joyous people on earth, especially if we really trust in the hope of our Savior Jesus. But we should also give joy to others with our presence and relationships with them. We can constantly look for ways to serve others the way Jesus served us (Philippians 2:3-4).
Let’s imagine again a new person, one who’s filled with a godly joy. They are radiant. They see the bright side of life whether life brings triumphs or trials. Basically, they are a mirror reflecting the very character of God, a character the world is in much need of seeing.