WHAT does the world tell you these days? So many messages, so much confusion.
All is lost. You can be awesome. The end is near. Nothing matters. Success and prosperity are yours. They are coming to get you. We have the truth. Trust us. Obey. Revolt.
How can we possibly navigate it all?
Here’s a message for you. You are called to joy.
Do we hear that one much? Does it even make sense today? It does and it matters now more than ever.
Everyone struggles. In every closet we find a skeleton, in every heart a brokenness. Since the world can’t untie the knots in our souls, the messages get more chaotic every day.
Worldwide, the spiritual battle continues to ramp up. Far too often, dialog is absent. Instead, the spirit of power and control reveals itself with naked aggression. There’s no hiding it anymore.
With time, being honest and true matters less and less. The real game is to manipulate and force people to think and behave a certain way.
Understandably, many get angry about this. We may respond violently. And the devil laughs at us tearing each other to pieces in a haze of tear gas and gunfire.
Want to fight back with the humble truth? Get ready to be bulldozed.
Even if you are unaware of the global crisis, you feel the impact. Millions suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, and despair. We’re all uneasy at some level.
Even the ever optimistic youth worries when they stop and think about it. Even children know things aren’t quite right. They never were, but the stakes seem much higher now.
And in response to the impossibility of it all is the audacity of God.
He says, respond to the chaos, pain, and cruelty… with joy.
This is not some kind of flimsy utopian ideology. If you follow Christ, there’s no sugar coating it. The founder of the Christian faith died a violent, bloody death. Then he rose from the dead.
The Son of Man came down to our level to give us access to our Creator. This means you clearly see the deep pain and suffering — you recognize your own miseries too — yet still, you rejoice.
So many want to set the world straight these days. They want to make wrong right. But it’s all by force. Anger and resentment drive us insane.
Yet few acknowledge the inner trauma we all carry. We do not seek healing, only victory. Masked as virtue, atrocity becomes accepted somehow. And as the violence grows, we embrace the idea that the only way things change is by crushing those that disagree.
Many flee the scene, seeking escape. But you can’t run away from yourself, can you?
Can joy thrive in such hostile terrain? Can it even exist?
Finally, in all the contamination and confusion, your last stronghold is your soul.
Is your soul happy? If not, why not?
The soul finds joy in communion with its Creator. It’s coming home again. Jesus gave us this. He gives us peace with God. His loving grace transcends the here and now. It is an eternal promise.
The restful soul is full of joy. You know who you are. You know where you are going. And you know you are loved beyond all measure.
It is the promise of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth.
And the joyous soul is a formidable weapon against the lies and aggression of the enemy.
The motives behind the forces of power today run deep. Many of them are rooted in collective hurt and resentment. While the intentions try to appear good, a sinister motor drives it all.
But what happens when your motives are rooted in joy? What can the soul at peace with God do for humanity?
Frist, you live the Good News that you are loved and forgiven. It’s such a simple message yet so incredibly powerful. It has the power to heal and save.
Then you share the Good News with others. This manifests itself in smiles and song, even despite the troubled world we live in.
Yes, you still have your struggles and your pain, but the core of your being is filled by the Spirit of God. This makes all the difference. Your core message is the Gospel which cuts through the chaos to reveal a clear path.
You join with others in God’s plan of salvation through Christ Jesus. The marginalized are drawn in close. The sad receive consolation. The sick find healing. And prisoners of all kinds are set free.
So rejoice. Be glad.
Jesus is your joy.
Seek him relentlessly. Lean into him now more than ever.
Let him give you heavenly strength to face each day, no matter the struggle. Let yourself be healed in ways you never imagined. Be solid and courageous.
And may your joy be a never ending source of stability, strength, and peace.
. . . . . . .
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.1 Peter 1:8-9
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