Do you consider yourself a joyful person? Would your family and friends describe you as joyful? During the day, are you thinking joyful thoughts? C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” As Christians we are called to live as transformed people. One way to encourage this transformation is to practice the spiritual disciplines. The disciplines are activities we can engage in to prepare ourselves to live transformed lives.
Joy is a spiritual discipline. God wants us to be joyful, in fact joy is a command. Joylessness is a sin. We are invited to rejoice in every moment of life. How are you doing? Are you living a joyful life. Are you someone who brings joy to others to encourage and support them?
Joyfulness is a choice and a skill that you can learn. It is important to remember that you are responsible for your own joy.
The first step in pursuing joy is to begin now. “This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad...” Psalm 118:24 NKJV.
One way to experience more joy is to make time for it. If your life is hurried, and your planner is full, you might not have time for joy.
If you have been hurt or you are lonely, you might not think you can feel joy. Remember joy, like forgiveness, is a choice that you make for yourself.
In Acts 16:25 (NKJV) we see that Paul and Silas were able to find joy in jail. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Who is listening to you? Who is looking to you for an encouraging word? An act of kindness? Or maybe just a smile? How are you doing?
How do you treat yourself? What do you tell yourself all day long? Do you treat yourself well? Are you critical of yourself or complaining? Maybe you are angry at yourself or disappointed. This might be the place to start practicing joy — with yourself.
Make time for joy. Chose joy every chance you get. Be aware of the gifts that every day brings and be open and thankful. Let your focus go beyond yourself. You risk missing so many blessings if you are self-absorbed. Look up from your smartphone and see the world around you. There is so much more to life then your routine and your agenda.
Here are three ideas for experiencing joy this week:
1 Bake a cake, make some cookies, pop some popcorn, just make something special and take it to one of your neighbors, maybe someone who is elderly or alone.
2 Send a hand-written note to someone who you haven’t seen or talked to in some time.
3 Write yourself a note about something you would really like to do, but that you have been putting off. Put in as many details in as possible.
I wish you joy!
For additional reading:
The Life You Always Wanted - John Ortberg
The Spirit of the Disciplines - Dallas Willard
Celebration of Disciplines - Richard Foster