A Joyful Heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart produces a broken spirit. Proverbs 15:13
By: Selwyn Hughes
Joy is a central characteristic of the Christian-and yet so many know nothing of it. They are under the lash of duty and not unabashed delight. They are artifical, not artesian. Someone once described such Christians as "creaking in body and soul as they limp along the highway toward glory." They walk the road to glory, but they are certainly not walking the glory road. The word "joy" (Greek: chara) is a strong and robust word. It is not resignation wearing a wan smile. It means a joy that is exuberant and overflowing. The summons to rejoice is sounded no less than seventy times in the New Testament, and the word chara occurs close to sixty times. The New Testament is a book of joy. Dr. William Barclay says that joy is the distinguishing atmosphere of the Christian life. He wrote: "We may put it this way-whatever the ingredients of Christian experience and in whatever proportions they are mixed together, joy is one of them."
Even in the first year after the death of my wife, I was wonderfully conscious of Christ's joy quietly breaking through the layers of my sadness and grief. Joy is always present in the heart of a Christian. It may not always be felt or recognized-but it is always there. And eventually it will break the surface, no matter what our situation or our circumstances. I have always maintained that joy is an inevitable part of the Christian life. Now I am sure. Oh, so very sure.
Prayer: Father, thank you for reminding me that when joy has its roots in You, then its fruits will eventually appear-no mater what happens. Eternal honor and praise be to Your wonderful name. Amen.