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Joy in lifelessness

Mechanical. Robotic. Empty. Isolated. Void. Numb. Depressed. These are a few words that describe many of us at times. Yes, even followers of Jesus. It is miserable to feel jailed in isolation while friends are eating and drinking. It is miserable to see life as gray and colorless while spring arises. It is miserable to have life become a program of auto-actions while children laugh and play. It is miserable not to feel while the crowds sing and dance. Isolation from what is really happening around is a horrible state to dwell. But more than that, in light of Christ’s desire for his body to be unified and in community, isolation is satanic.

Now, even though joy may feel like it is locked, sealed, and separate from our daily experiences, we must remember that this state does not define us as Christians. The greater reality is that Jesus has given us his joy—today. As Christians, how many of us relate to these verses from Isaiah?

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;

over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.

Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;

in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.

From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,

of glory to the Righteous One.

But I say, “I waste away,

I waste away. Woe is me!

For the traitors have betrayed,

with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”

Isaiah 24:14–16

The statement “I have no joy” is one that many of us have expressed and maybe are experiencing now. Yet, the gospel of Jesus allows us to actively participate triumphant victory at this very moment.

So here is our hope: in Jesus Christ, we do not have to live a lifeless life. Why? Because our life is now in his resurrection, and our salvation is absolutely marvelous. We can cry out with the psalmist, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation”!

Joy was prevalent while Jesus, our salvation, was on earth. Be reminded of his salvation for you today. May our hearts leap for joy once again as we hear his Word. 

His birth

  • “When they saw the star, [the wise men] rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Matthew 2:10
  • “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” –Elizabeth, talking to Mary about baby John the Baptizer in her womb, Luke 1:44
  • “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” Luke 2:10

His forgiveness

  • “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

His word

  • “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
  • “And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for awhile, and in time of testing fall away.” Luke 8:13 (Note, don’t be this person.)

His death

  • “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1–2

His resurrection

  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” John 16:20
  • “And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling . . .” Luke 24:41
  • “And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” Luke 24:52
  • “So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” Matthew 28:8

Donovan Medina is the worship pastor at the Albuquerque church.

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