Whenever someone is with their friends they are filled with enthusiasm and joy. The faithful are characteristically people of Joy, as our Lord has said, “I will see you again, and your heart will Rejoice, and your Joy no one will take it from you”, and again, “Ask and you will receive, that your Joy may be full” (John 16:22, 24).
The Apostle Paul commands in the same spirit, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” [Philippians 4:4]. When the Apostles Peter and John appeared in court for preaching about Jesus, they were flogged and allowed to go, and “they departed from the Council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).
When the Apostles Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Pisidia, the Jews threw them out of the city, “And the disciples were filled with Joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52). We also read that during the Roman persecution of the Christians, the Martyrs were going to their death happily, with Joy. The Gospel [Evangelion], which means Good News, is a book of Joyful messages for its adherents. Therefore, the Christian should be a person of Joy and optimism. It would not be too much to say that one cannot be a Christian if he is not a Joyful person. It has been said that what feeds atheism is the lack of Joy among the Christians. The well-known British philosopher and novelist, Arthur Koestler, at one time said “When I see those of faith that are not Joyful, I console myself, that I am an atheist”, a crushing indictment, indeed!
The reason that many Christians appear without Joy in themselves, is due to the fact that it has not been cultivated within, not even as a theory. And yet, Joy is the fruit of real deep Faith, and also a proof of Faith, in addition to being a weapon against the unfaithful. God gives us Joyful occasions every day. Sad events also occur in our lives, almost daily. What do we do? We pay attention to the sad events, but not to the Joyful ones. With such an attitude, not even God can reach us to console us! We have to take seriously the need of Joy for our spiritual wellbeing, and ignore the weaknesses and imperfections of human nature. If we wait until all difficulties disappear from our environment so we can experience Joy, we will not be Joyful ever.
We should be people of Joy, but also people who easily accept Joy offered to us. And joy frequently is accompanied by smiling. A genuine smile from a peaceful face can infuse Joy to the other person. We should not forget that the Spiritual Revolution which Jesus Christ started over 2000 years ago is continuing to this day, and we are part of that. It does imply hard work and sustained effort, but also includes Faith, Peace and Joy, which sustains everything that we do.
Source: Lychnos November/December 2018