“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11, ESV).
Today I read a blog post written by a friend (have a read here), in which she notes that Christianity, as she knew it in the community within which she grew up, lacked joy. And it led me to wonder – as Christians, our lives should be characterised by joy – joy from being in relationship with and personally knowing God, joy in knowing His grace and forgiveness, joy from the knowledge that we are set free and the price has been paid for our sins. So why aren’t we more joy-filled? I think a lot of the answer has to do with guilt, which comes as we focus on our shortcomings, on how we fail, on the times when we mess up and fail to live the life we think we should live as Christians. When we let guilt rule our lives we become a lot like Peter, who started to sink when he focused on the wind (the problems) instead of Jesus, whilst walking on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14: 30). Yet Jesus came that we may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Yes, we mess up, but the wonderful thing, the joyful thing, the thing that is so worth celebrating at Easter and every other day of the year, is that through Jesus and His death and resurrection, we can have forgiveness and a clean slate. We can start again, and not just on our own, but with God’s help and the Holy Spirit to guide us. As we head towards Easter, I would encourage both you and myself to refocus our attention, not on our own human shortcomings but on God’s wonderful grace.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”. (Psalm 16: 11, ESV).
*This post comes with huge thanks to my sister for letting me to share her photo, taken at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.