May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
The word joy jumps out at me in Romans 15:13. The concept of being filled with joy (and peace) is amazing. How often do we in modern America stop to consider being joyful? I know I rarely do.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines joy as the following:
- The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: Delight
- A state of happiness or felicity: Gaiety
- A source or cause of delight: Bliss
Joy is Beyond an Emotion.
I think that joy is beyond an emotion – it transcends emotion to a state of being. I believe that as peace is a mind-set, so is joy. We can choose to find joy and to be hopeful despite our surroundings.
The example of this is on the face of the sponsor children that we support at FH. Despite living in impoverished conditions, the children we work with are joyful. Despite living in disaster areas or war-torn countries, the children we work with have smiles. Why? What do they have that I don’t?
The answer lies in the last part of the Romans 15:13 verse, hope. Our mission is to bring hope to the hopeless; you might say it’s our best export. When we move into a community to provide clean drinking water, livestock, personal and economic growth opportunities, or to offer the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are offering hope.
Children, filled with hope through the Holy Spirit, are unstoppable. The limit of what can be accomplished is beyond imagination. By providing sanitary hygiene and education, we are changing lives forever. By providing economic opportunity for a community, we can change entire people groups.
So while we may experience joy as a fleeting moment, like the joy of finishing a good book or getting a great deal online, our sponsor children are receiving a deep and abiding joy. A joy that brings hope and a hope that changes a life.
I would like to issue a challenge for us to experience joy like one of our children. Examine your life and find your joy – I know that my joy is my family. I pray that we will be filled with joy and peace, because I think we could all use hope.
In this season coming up to our remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ, it’s important that we remember that His sacrifice was for our Salvation – for us to have peace and joy and the hope that comes from relationship with Him. Christ died so that we may have life and lead it more joyfully!