Finding the path to joy in our life!

Psalm 89:15-18 (15) Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. (16) They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. (17) For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. (18) Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Time magazine ran an article titled “14 Ways to Squeeze More Joy Out of Every Day.” The author, started the article with this thought: “Sometime this morning, during your shower or at work, you probably did a mental run-through of your day. You decided when you’d tackle various tasks and errands. Perhaps you vowed to hit the gym at lunchtime. Maybe you plotted to get out of something (apologies, PTA meeting). The one thing you forgot to plan for: happiness.”

The author then gives a list of 14 ways to be happy. The list includes some of the following suggestions about how to be happy: Make happiness your goal, know what makes you happy, prioritize it, think happy thoughts, and make Sunday future-fun day (make plans for the next weekend).

In our passage today, the The King James Version reads in verse 15: Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound. What is the joyful sound the Psalmist speaks of? It is a call, to worship and praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This worship and praise is continuous, it is the sound that we are known for and occurs in all that we do.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

This means that we are not focused on our own rights, privileges or self as we are surrendered to exclusively living a life that is for the glory of our Lord. In menial tasks, important works, eating, drinking and social gatherings all that we say, think, and do is for the glory of God. This will take great sacrifice but great joy will follow.

Do we know this joyful sound? To know this joyful sound you have to personally experience being born again. A radical transformation of your life in every way. I always think of 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

This verse explains that the old is gone which sticks out in my mind. Our old ways, our old habits, our old problems that are a result from un-Christ like behaviors should be gone.

Another verse that comes to mind is Galatians 2:20 — I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I no longer live — life is not all about me. When it was always all about me I did not find joy. I found heartache because things did not always work out perfectly the way I wanted them to. This leads to a lot of disappointment, frustration and anger. It also leads to alienation and loneliness.

When we personally know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we experience God as our guide. His presence will illuminate our path and His favor will rest upon us. Because of His light, because of His presence we are able to rejoice in all circumstances, no matter what we face. Our Joy comes from God and all that He is. It is His glory and His strength that gives us the power to be joyful always.

There is a story of a man who was living in the third century, and he was dying when he wrote these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life.

They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. They are truly a joyful people. These people are the Christians … and I am one of them.”

We who are Christians, followers of Christ, have learned a great secret: Jesus is the reason for the joy of joys. His presence in our life and the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him brings a transcendent joy to any set of circumstances. We do not need 14 ways or things for more joy, we just need Jesus Christ as Lord of our life.

If you want to squeeze more joy out of everyday life, fit more of Jesus into your life every day!

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)