“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4v4
How’s that for a command? Be full of joy in the Lord. Not just when we feel good, or when we can see Him working in our lives, or when things are going our way, but always. He has done so much for us, and the least we can do is rejoice at all times, and be in a continual state of joy.
But so often in life it is easy to fall into a feeling of discontent. It is easy to feel that we would feel joyful, if only we had that bigger TV, or that new mobile. But why should our joy be triggered by such superficial things? Our sin has been forgiven. Christ has died in our place! We are going to heaven to be with God our Father. Isn’t that reason enough to be in a continual state of joy, regardless of temporary circumstances?
“Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” Psalm 32v1-2
If salvation doesn’t bring us happiness, how can we expect others to be interested? If we want people to see that they need Jesus in their life we need to let show them what a difference he makes. And if we are going through life all full of doom and gloom just like everyone else, how are they going to see that? We need to stop letting temporary issues, like missing the bus, or it being a wet day, have a larger influence on our emotions than the fact that our disobedience is forgiven.
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14v7
We are not going to advance the Kingdom of God very far if people don’t see that it offers them a better way of life. If our life doesn’t evidently bring us goodness, peace and joy in a way that people can see, they aren’t going to be interested in finding out more about Christianity. If we want to advance the Kingdom, we need to let our joy show always.
There are many ways you can let your joy show. But the simplest, and perhaps even most effective way, is simply to smile.
“A smile costs nothing, however it brings great richness to the recipient” Kate Harper.
When you smile at people, they tend to smile back at you. So straight away your smile has caused another smile. And the fact that someone has cared enough for them to give them a smile is likely to cheer them up, and (from personal experience anyway) put them in a better mood for a short time, which can leading to them smiling at other people, starting the cycle again, and thus spreading the joy much further.
In the short term in probably won’t make a huge difference – the temporary happiness you have caused someone will fade. But in the long term, with repetition and persistence you will build up a reputation as someone who is joyful, caring and happy. And in the battle for souls, that could make a huge difference.