Psalm 13 (& Romans 5:1-11, Philippians 1:25)
Sorrow. The opposite of joy. If Joy is an inward manifestation of a relationship with God, how can someone like King David experience sorrow? Because he had faith that God was still with him even of circumstances concealed the joy. Faith and Joy. How are they connected? Interesting question.
On to the internet I go. 4 links.
- Romans 5:1-11: “Faith Brings Joy”
- Philippians 1:25 “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will …”
- Living by Faith Blog “The faith-joy connection”
- National Catholic Reporter, “Joy comes from faith, not doctrine, pope says”
Romans 5 first. Wow. The take-away to me is that our relationship with God and Jesus begins with faith. And that suffering (and sorrow) is necessary, for it develops our perseverance, which develops our character, which strengthens our confident hope and knowledge of our salvation with Jesus. Essentially, the knowledge that in the end, in our future. God has a plan, and we are part of it. And knowing that, fully understanding that, can bring joy. I like that line of thought.
Philippians 1:25. “. . . joy in the faith . . .” Even in prison, Paul embraces his circumstances knowing that he is growing and also helping others grow. Ties in a little bit about why I think Joy is my word of the year. To help others gain their own joy in the faith. Not that I want to be in prison to do it.
Faith-Joy blog. Some very insightful stuff. This one is worth re-reading again in the future. A lot to mull on. I like the cause-effect relationship that Steve (the author) creates. Makes sense and I was drifting that way myself. Trust in God (faith) leads to joy. His take-aways created a lot of thought. He references emotions. I think happiness easily falls into this category. The seconds take-away refences lack of joy, which is really how today’s Bible study started. To me, the lack of joy is a necessary step in our development of character and strength with Christ. And Steve’s blog is all about her perseverance and spiritual growth that started from a lack of joy. I actually disagree a bit with his third take-away. I don’t think that a lack of joy shows there is a problem with faith. I think it is more of an opportunity for growth. It is an indicator for sure that God wants you to focus on something other than what you are focusing on. I base this on King David. I don’t think he had a problem with faith in God. I think God was using that to grow the character of King David. And I find that more comforting than thinking I have a lack of faith. It’s more like I am focusing on the wrong issue/thought and God wants me to redirect my attention elsewhere.
The final Google result from the NCR. The grace of joy. As I first started reading this, I was thinking that Pope Francis had it backwards. “The joy of faith, the joy of the Gospel is the touchstone of a person’s faith. Without joy, that person is not a true believer,” he said, according to Vatican Radio. I thought he was saying that you need joy first to have faith. But I think he is actually saying that if you don’t have joy, then apparently you don’t have faith, and if you don’t have faith, you aren’t a true believer in Jesus. Which goes against everything I started learning about joy. Especially if I believe, as I just wrote, that the absence of joy is really God wanting us to grow. . . to refocus on something. The article starts that, “it’s sad to be a believer without joy. . .” and I think that could possibly be true IF you are stuck in that position and are not attempting to find out why. Not talking to God. Or even attempting to talk to God. Such as Steve did in the previous blog. I think the perpetual absence of joy is more like an alarm to your spirit. In fact, I think that probably is the Holy Spirit trying to get your attention. If that’s the case, then continually talking with, embracing your internal Holy Spirit leads to joy. Remember, I think joy comes from within and happiness is external. That’s a profound thought that I will have to mull on for a couple days. How is joy and the Holy Spirit connected? Hmmm, I don’t know. To finish my thought on the NCR article. I like how this article drove my thoughts in a slightly different direction. The Pharisees lacked faith that Jesus was truly God and thus had no joy. The could not rejoice in the fulfillment of the scripture. So does that mean there is more than one kind of joy? The joy of a new born child? (a gift from God!). The heart of gospel is Love. The love of Jesus. And the love of our neighbor. And if we love and trust God & Jesus. Then we have faith in Him and His promises. And if we have faith, we have joy. And if joy is missing, we go back to faith and talk to God to see why.
A lot to think on.