THE GENESIS AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF JOY
The word “genesis” carries the idea of “origin” or “beginning.” Genesis is the first book in the Bible – the book of beginnings. So, what is the “genesis” of joy?
Today, there is a glut of “how-to” books on everything, including how to be happy. Happiness, we discover, is almost always contingent on favourable circumstances. If one’s circumstances are positive, one should be able to be happy. Joy, however, is different.
Joy is not the result of circumstances, formulas or some manufactured mindset. Nor can joy be found in a “how to” manual written by some self-proclaimed guru on “joy.” The fountainhead of joy is the presence of Christ within. It is a fruit of the Spirit that grows as we yield to the Life-giving Vine. (John 15) Joy is the outpouring of a heart at peace with God.
In Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, joy was his central theme. In reality, however, there was little in Paul’s life at the time that would contribute to joy. He was writing this letter from a dingy prison cell. His life up to that point was constantly under attack by God-resisters and antagonists of the Gospel. And after two decades of itinerant ministry, I’m sure he was tired and would have welcomed some relief. However, none of these things were his source of joy.
Joy for Paul was found in Jesus. It bubbled up like an artesian well from within and spilled out all around. Circumstances were incidental to Paul, and contributed little in one way or the other, compared to the life of Jesus he experienced from the inside.
Desiring this same joy for the believers at Philippi he wrote: “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well ...a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits (joy) from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Paul continued, “Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns.” (Phil. 1:9-11; 2:14-16 The Message)
Joy and right living seemed to be the magnets the Holy Spirit would often use to attract others to Jesus. Two thousand years later, they have not lost their magnetic draw.
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group (Loads of Love)