What would it be like to have unhindered, abundant joy in the midst of all circumstances? The beauty of the joy God longs to give is that it’s not fleeting or temporary. It is sustaining, strong and true. As we continue to discover what it means to live for heaven, today we look at what it means for us to be marked by joy.
“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Proverbs 10:28
C.S. Lewis said, “All joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.” As pilgrims on the journey to boundless communion with our heavenly Father, we are called to be marked by a sustaining and transcendent joy. Our God is a God of joy. He is the creator of fun and the giver of abundant life. He longs for his children to taste and see his goodness (Psalm 34:8). He longs for us to open our hearts, cast off the cares of this world, and receive the joy that comes from living for heaven.
Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” We serve a joyful King. There is no greater joy than living in the fullness of relationship available to us in Christ. To live for heaven is to throw off whatever weight would entangle us to the depravity of this world and seek sustaining joy that comes down from heaven to fill our hearts.
Our Father cares deeply about the concerns of this world. He weeps over the lost. He becomes angry over the works of the enemy. He is deeply saddened when we choose the fleeting and unsatisfying ways of the world over his fulfilling and perfect plans. But in the midst of all his emotions, he is joyfully expectant for the age that is to come. He sees the depravity and wounds and celebrates that one day soon it will all be redeemed. He is elated over the day that “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). And there is sustaining joy available to us this side of heaven if we will allow him to fill us with his perspective.
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” If we will allow the Lord to redeem the trials and testing we endure in this life, we will begin to bear the fruit of joy in the midst of any circumstance. Unshakable joy is our portion. The heart of our Father is to make us a people marked by the joy of heaven. Take time today in guided prayer to throw off whatever is keeping you from experiencing the joy of the Lord. Rest in his presence and search out his heart. May you be a child marked by the joy of your heavenly Father today.
C.S Lewis is also quoted as saying, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” We are not to be flippant about our joy. To be marked by joy is to allow the Holy Spirit to bear fruit in our lives. When we have genuine joy in the midst of trials and troubles, we declare to the world the unchanging and tangible goodness of our heavenly Father. When we meet challenges head-on with joy, we declare with our attitudes the hope we have for the age that is to come. Pursue joy wholeheartedly today and declare with your life the principles of God’s kingdom so that others might come to restored relationship with their Creator.
Extended Reading: Psalm 16 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Psalms.