Do you know how it feels to live with a joyful heart? It is one of the best experiences I know, yet it isn’t easy for me–it doesn’t come naturally. I’ve always thought it was just my mostly-melancholy temperament to blame, but I’m discovering that most people struggle to live in joy.
There are just so many things that work against it: our hormones, our health, our perception of others, the things we do for pleasure from food to drink to drugs all have a negative aftermath. Add these in the people around us. We certainly have no control over their choices, actions and words. It seems our joy is doomed.
But there is an antidote in Psalms 105 that I read this morning: “Exult in His hallowed name; Let those who seek the Lord be joyful in heart.”
There is a lot of instruction in the verses around that one: seek His presence always, turn to the Lord your strength, think upon all His wonders, remember what He has done, sing to honor Him, give Him thanks. Good stuff. But the one that caught me was “Exult in His hallowed name.” What does that mean?
“Exult” is like celebrating victory in war. “His hallowed name” is God’s very special all-good character. We can celebrate that God is all good. And since we live in a war, that is important. Especially because we are so used to this war zone we forget about it.
However, if we seek Him, spend time alone with Him, we are allowing ourselves to exult in joy! We are educating our hearts to be joyful. That just means we fill them with joy.
We celebrate love tomorrow in Valentines Day. But we can celebrate God’s amazing love every single day. He has the capacity to be up close and personal with each of us all the time. Imagine having a lover with you all the time whose presence gives you a lift, fills you with the feeling of sunshine, makes you feel more than yourself, like you can do or be anything you want, but mostly you just are constantly mindful of being LOVED.
I’ve been asked to teach on John 17 today, and the preparation has been rich. It’s the prayer Jesus prayed for all of us who would respond to Him. He was asking God to make us one with Them. Wow! We can have everything Jesus got from Abba! And He got the JOY that carried Him through the worst abuse and death ever.
That joy was resting in what He knew: He knew when he cried, “It is finished” from the cross, His triumph would be exulted in all over the universe–celebrated from world to world, evil would be done in the universe, Satan’s kingdom finished after all questions are answered here.
He knew and rejoiced that he could do more for us who stay connected to Him than we could ask or even imagine. (Eph. 3:20) We can surmount impossibilities, rising on eagles wings. (Isaiah 40:31) We have hope in everything because we are linked to God through amazing love. Power to resist evil, that hell can’t overpower, is ours.
If we focused on what we have, instead of what we don’t have, the love available to us, instead of our fears, we would live in joy. Once again, it’s a choice. Sometimes a choice you have to make every hour, or half hour.