A life of joy
A life of joy
Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. James 4:9-10 NLT
Christianity is about experiencing a life of joy. God is our source of joy. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). God wants us to experience joy for “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). But there are certain actions that can rob us of joy. It is not that James from our text demands that Christians should become gloomy people. What James is instructing Christians to do is not to ignore sin in their lives but instead be proactive in addressing them. Neglecting sin can lead to a mirage that we create so as not just to be perceived that we are hurting within. We cannot live being callous over sin and pretend that we can get by just by ignoring its presence in our lives. God wants His children to be joyful but He also wants us to understand that any real joy cannot co-exist with worldly practices and beliefs. We are called upon to mourn over sin. God provides us with immeasurable blessings and we cannot just take them for granted by living our lives in disobedience to His will. God did not only give us eternal life but He also gave us the command to advance His work in this world and not addressing sin in our lives will impede our abilities and faithfulness in sharing His Word to others. We cannot buy into the devil’s lies that by ignoring God and His word provide us pleasure and satisfaction. Actually, it is to the contrary, ignoring sin will destroy not only our spiritual life but also our physical health. It can destroy our relationships in our homes and in our churches. Sin brings pleasure for a season, but the season is always fleeting and the consequences are always great. Moses, instead of being called the son of Pharaoh “chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). James provides us a prescription whenever we wander away from the will of God and realize our sin. God wants us to get back to where we as Christians should be. It is not an easy road, but it is a tried-and-true road. It is the road of submission, brokenness, cleansing and repentance. If we are wondering when will there be a widespread spiritual awakening for it’s been a while since we heard and read about true spiritual awakening, could it be that the awakening we need should begin first within us by listening to what God is telling us through what James has laid out for us?