Enjoy The Journey
Sometimes when people question the legitimacy of Christ’s identity as the Son of God I try to kindly tell them of the miracle of Jesus’ brothers after His death and resurrection called Him Lord. Anyone who has a sibling understands that it’s crazy to think that someone would ever willingly say that about their sibling unless they really believed it. James one of Jesus’ brothers once said in His book (James 1:17) “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” and I personally would agree with that. Everything that is good, lasting, sustainable, and that brings me joy is a gift from God and believe that the journeys of marriage and parenthood are meant to bring us joy.
In Proverbs 17:22 we learn that “A joyful heart is good medicine…” and in Ecclesiastes which is another book of wisdom from the Old Testament we learn in chapter 3 that there are many different seasons in life but in verses 12-13 we are told, “So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Whenever exploring joy it’s important to understand the difference between joy and happiness. So what is the big difference? Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is based on circumstance and scenario. On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that is not dependent on your circumstances or scenario, in Romans 12:12, Paul urges us to be “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” If we look back at James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Joy found in Jesus is rooted in hope and love.
Now we understand that in our life and our relationships that our happiness is fleeting and even joy sometimes is tested, especially by fear. Fear can be the kryptonite of joy. In Genesis when Satan tempts Adam and Eve he places fear and doubt in their mind that God really had the best in mind for them which led to “The Fall”. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief is Satan and he loves to tempt us and place fear in our way to look to rob us of the gifts of joy that God has given us, especially in relationships. Here is the good news though, fear looks to steal our joy but joy found in Jesus cannot be stolen.
In 1 John we learn that “God is love” and that 1 John 4:18 it says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” When you are in relationship with Christ, His love will help drive away fear that seeks to steal your joy and that tries to bring separation between you and God. So more good news…joy is the antidote to fear, when we are in relationship with Christ we will experience joy and our joy found in Christ will help to not allow fear to consume us. So when you are feeling like life is difficult cling to this scripture, Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The journeys of marriage, parenthood, and relationships are meant to bring you joy, but Jesus is the only source of true and everlasting Joy. So make sure that the foundation of your relationships are found in Christ and that you look for ways to experience the joys of these gifts. Maybe it’s looking for ways to make laughter a norm in your home, maybe it’s a date with your significant other, a special outing with your kids, or anything to help have some serious fun!
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-17.