The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
This word is used ubiquitously, especially during this holiday season. Not to mention, a movie by the same name opened 48 hours ago on Christmas day. This movie just recently sparked some serious personal reflection about this popular subject.
Early this morning, I had planned to attend the 7:30 showing of the movie Joy. The entire day my heart was set; I was going to see the movie Joy. Much to my dismay, precisely at 6:15 my plans to view this film were interrupted, and for a reason that seemed whimsical and purposeless. Upon realizing this, some amount of joy within me was instantly sucked away. Furthermore, other feelings of bitterness and contempt arose within me towards an elder figure in my life.
This was the opposite of joy.
This situation made me realize two things. First, a sudden change in my expectations, or more accurately, not being able to do what I wanted, was a silly reason to allow contempt and bitterness to overwhelm me. Second, my joy should never have been so attached to the viewing of a movie. Especially one titled Joy.
My joy, happiness, good feeling, comfort… None of these should ever be defined by circumstance. All that I am is ultimately defined in Christ. How silly of me to think otherwise. In God’s divine plan, even for my life, what is one night of ruined expectations? Beyond that, why were my expectations so closely intertwined with my joy.
In this season of giving and family and connection we should be careful to not allow our joy to be dictated by what we want or what happens to us. Our joy should flow from who we are in Christ, and it should remain unhindered despite a mere change of plans, or anything else for that matter.
Have you ever heard this saying? Joy isn’t a feeling; it’s an attitude.
As followers of Christ, this is true unequivocally. And we should never allow circumstance to influence our attitudes.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.