Just starting a new series called Learning Joy, see here for Part 1 and more information on this mission! This is a guest post from my sister Makrina on joy. From the first day I met her, Makrina has been an inspiration and role model to me on living a joy-filled life. You can find more of her writing on the blog (one of my personal favourites) lmbawoman.blogspot.co.uk.
“Seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit but joy is!”
Gareth Gilkeson, Rend Collective
Joy. I think we miss it. I cannot recall preachers teaching kids that joy is the heart of God. I cannot recall a sermon that tells of the joy of worship.
I watch the kids as they endure long hours of church services. I watch how their experiences of boredom translate in their minds to God-is-boring. How praising Jesus becomes a monotonous chore.
Where are the kids who love to sing the praises of our wondrous Lord?
This query beckons another: where are the people of God who teach these kids that joy is the heart of Jesus? Where are the joyous ones who will not only teach but also live a life of praise?
Where are those who will heed to this simple command?
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”
We justify our lives, we claim that the world is home to many thieves of joy. We live as if misery is our default, and praise becomes mere words, often a drag. But that is never the heart of God.
Let me tell you this one truth, one truth that you ought to never forget:
This joy, it’s a choice.
No person or circumstance can rob you of joy, for joy is a choice. To choose to rejoice despite the waves, despite the storm, despite the fierce stones.
Joy is a choice.
To come before Him in prayer and worship is to come before the Holy heart of God. To come before the Holy heart of God is to see the truth of Who He is and to leave with it imparted onto our souls. To come before the Holy heart of God is to sing with the Psalmist “in your Presence is fullness of joy.”
I observe a stern, seriousness in worship. The uptight, tight-fisted, legalistic worship.
Where is the joy that caused ancient heroes to dance and sing and shout for His wondrous Name?
Life should be a celebration of the goodness of God.
Heaven is celebration, where all tribes and all nations and all His loved ones celebrate before His holy throne in joy and adoration. That is the life we should be living now, heaven starts right here.
Ancient heroes played the Lyre, sang songs, wrote poems and danced before the God of joy. There’s an art in celebration, where every soul brings before Him praise in various forms.
Who will teach our kids to be creative and find their spark? Who will tell the kids that we all find our own moments of pure, intimate joy with the Lord in diverse ways?
We will. We will be the people who know joy in His presence. We will be the painters, the writers, the singers, the dancers, the dreamers, the preachers, the poets, the cooks, the athletes and the producers who display the art of celebration.
For, eternity starts right here.
Heaven’s song is here.
Joy is here.
“The Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven”
C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
“Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”