Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I have moments of joy. I love them. It feels like my stomach is full of tingling bells and that my perception is clear and free. I usually respond to a situation with profound gratitude and wonder at God’s grace. I know that I should be dead. I should be horrifically executed for my disobedience, my behaviours, and my attitude. Before the throne of God I am nothing of consequence. Except that I have all the appeal of a skid mark on new, white, cotton, underpants. However, Jesus washes me clean. Jesus has presented me as pure and he makes that perception a reality by his constant care and work of compassion.
I feel tears as I feel joy, but something fights their flow. When I counsel a student in my office, I feel the joyful privilege of sharing biblical truth and the joy moistens my eyes. I wish tears would flow. There is a dreadful blockage that I constructed in the years when I fought all emotion. I constructed a damn because I wanted to be a socially acceptable male. In so doing, I dammed the fear and the hate and the pain, but I also dammed the joy and the compassion. Jesus saves me from my errors, but still I find it hard to embrace the weakness of tears so that I may know more fully the strength of being alive.
When I was depressed even bold colours seemed muted. I was relieved that, as I reengaged my feelings, the colours I saw seemed more vibrant. Christ has led me so far that I can access joy, but I do not live in a permanent condition that I would call joyful. If we address my entitlement, and the belief that I am forced to do things I don’t choose, I will access more of the continuous salvation that the passage describes.
I long for joy. I long for moments of joy to become that joyful assurance that I am unconditionally loved and accepted.
- What words describe the Christian’s joy?
- From where does a Christian’s joy arise?
- What are we receiving now?
- Why do some Christians today cease receiving joy from God?
- How do you experience joy?