I have been thinking a lot about joy lately, and I’ve noticed that in order for there to be joy, there must always be a sacrifice.
As believers, we experience joy as a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as a product of the continual transformation brought on by the Holy Spirit. This joy is free and accessible to us, but it came at the price of Christ’s death on the cross for our sake.
Because of the weight of sin in our fallen world and the perpetual death that comes with it, in order for us to feel the joy of the Lord, it comes at a cost. Yet God was so merciful that He paid it for is, giving us access to that joy.
What does all this mean?
That there is baggage in joy. Not necessarily the kind that we wallow in or the kind that keeps us from rejoicing, but the kind that convicts our hearts and draws us near to the Father in thankfulness and praise.
I believe that the glory of the Father can be found in our joy, as a product of what the spirit produces in us, because of the Son.
Joy is a lovely state of being, yet a necessary reminder that without Christ, there once was not.
I think about the year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee, which came every 50th year, was a time commanded by God for the releasing of people from their debts, releasing all slaves, and returning property to those who originally owned it (Leviticus 25:1-13). The year of Jubilee was precisely its namesake: a season of celebration. There was so much joy that came from the lifting of the yoke of slavery and the shame that came with debt. Jubilee was joyous for those who could not find freedom by their own means- but the catch is that this joy is not so easily recognized until there is first the taint of slavery. For those who did not experience loss or debt, they had a much harder time rejoicing, because they had nothing to be returned to them.
In the same way, Paul says in Romans that although we should not continue sinning, the memory of sin should bring us joy in our salvation, and compel us to offer ourselves to the Father as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6).
This is the Christian joy: to not live as though we were still dead in our sins, but to rejoice in the freedom we have found in Christ, using our knowledge of salvation and thankfulness to compel us to glorify the Father.
Yes friends, this is a weighty joy.
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