Heaven’s joy is always available, especially during dark and confusing times. Don’t mistake any fleeting moments of happiness as anything equal to the joy that Jesus gives. Eternal joy is poured into the hearts of every believer when the spirit of God makes his home with us. “I experience absolute joy in your presence.” (Psalm 16:11)
But what about all the bad news, emergency declarations, loss and grief? Heaven’s joy does not depend upon surrounding situations. The apostle Peter found joy in spite of heavy hardships. And in his letters to the early believers of the first century, he helped his readers understand the workings of joy. Peter emphasized a spiritual, new birth into joy and holiness when he addressed his audience. He boldly announced the gospel message, the good news of Jesus Christ, and the peace that it produced. Peace with God our maker. And from that peace springs the joy of heaven to our souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 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.”
And so, where is the joy? It can be found when you come to God:
1. Come to God: learn from your spiritual leaders, pray, open God’s Word and ask him to speak to you through his word.
2. Make note of scripture verses that address your questions.
3. Memorize God’s word.
4. Apply God’s word — to every problem, issue, situation, circumstance.
5. Trust his promises and his lordship in your life.
The joy of Jesus in your heart will increase as you learn to trust him more and more, with each new day.
Barbara Brown is a member of the Lighthouse Church of God ministry team.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.