Lutheran Church Extension Fund

JOY Is Spiritual Receptivity!

Reading time: less than 3 minutes I’m going to be more possessive of my joy from now on.  I’m going to be jealous for my joy.Joy_1 We were created for joy.   Joy is God’s gift to me.  I’m designed for joy.  It is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), it’s mine as an heir of the kingdom, and I want it.  To everything that comes to suck out my joy from now on I’m going to say, “Hey!  That’s mine!  I want my joy back!” Joy is slippery to define.  You know when you have it.  You know when you’ve lost it, but how it vanishes is often a mystery. I’m convinced that real, deep, eternal, unquenchable joy is impossible without the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  Real joy is found only in the risen Christ (Luke 24:52), in the certainty of the forgiveness of sins and the guarantee of life forever. Joy is a gift.  I believe that joy is an indicator of the peace that is beyond all understanding (Philippians 4:7).  When all is well and right and good between me and the Lord, that is, when God and I are at peace (Romans 5:1), then joy follows naturally (Romans 5:2-3). PrayerSo when joy goes missing in my life, my first thought is going to be, “How’s my spiritual life?” The Lutheran Wellness Wheel is designed with Spiritual Wellbeing wrapping everything else together.  As Luther taught in the first kind of righteousness, everything in our lives begins with God’s means of grace, the Word and the Sacraments. Joy flows from peace, and peace comes only as the gift of God, so when joy is absent, I turn to God.  Praying “Lord, have mercy” I expectantly kneel at the cross to receive what only He can give: forgiveness, life and His Spirit who brings again peace and joy.  Spiritual Wellbeing is receptivity to God’s gifts. I’m jealous for my joy, so when joy is missing, I return to the only giver of real joy, Christ my Savior. I’m also convinced that joy is eschatological.  It’s a glimpse of the life to come in this life here and now. heavenSo when the cares and burdens of daily bearing the cross weigh on me, I remember that Jesus will be back one day soon. Hope in suffering has always been a Christian’s joy. Spiritual Wellbeing is about receptivity to God’s good and wonderful gifts.  Joy is a wonderful gift and a good indicator of a healthy receptivity to God’s rich gifts in my life.  I want my joy, so I’ll keep watch on God’s gifts to me of peace, hope and a thankful heart. How about a moment of joy right now?  “Thank you Lord, for answering the big questions.  Thank you for Jesus and the peace and hope He gives.  ‘Restore to me the joy of salvation’ (Psalm 51:12).  Amen.” Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry?  Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.