In times of economic recession, in a world where so many people feel squeezed and stressed, where depression and competition are rife – how urgently needed are people who know how to keep a discipline of joy!
Christian joy is not a passing feeling; it is an attitude and a habit, but it is a fire that does have to be fed – it won’t run on nothing.
Joy is fed by keeping company with Jesus, for his Spirit is joyous and free, and if we spend time with him we become more like him. Deep and rich fellowship with people who know the Lord also feeds our joy; it is exhilarating and inspiring, and helps us persevere. Nature is also a source of joy, and spending time every day in the woods, hills or parkland, or by the sea, a lake or a stream, will feed our joy.
For many people, spending time with animals and children also creates joy. Art and music inspire joy. Joy is also found in service. Everyone I know who has helped out in a hospice or prison, with disabled people needing support, or visiting old, frail or housebound folk, has testified that they went to give but came away humbled by how much they had received. Joy is fostered by eating nutritious food, and taking enough rest and exercise. Tired, malnourished, toxic bodies defy anyone’s power to hold to a discipline of joy!
Joy needs space. We greatly diminish our chances of staying in joy if we allow the pressures of life to accumulate.
Joy streams from you like light, O God our Father, and joy is the energy and
radiance of Jesus. Help us so to walk in your will, in your perfect plan for us, that our lives overflow with joy, healing and lifting every life that touches ours. For we ask it in Jesus’ precious name; Amen.