Twelve Days of Christmas: Joy

The Lord’s regulations are right,
    gladdening the heart.
The Lord’s commands are pure,
    giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 19:8 (CEB)

I heard more than I cared to about “backsliding” and “sinfulness” over Christmas weekend. “Good Christians don’t cuss, drink, or be lazy.” These weren’t directed towards me but in this conversation I was reminded that a lot of people I know think this way. My response? “Well Jesus said it is a matter of the heart. You can appear to be a good Christian. You can talk like an angel all you want, but if your heart is ugly, that’s not good.” 

The Lord’s regulations are not for appearances. They are road maps to a joyful heart. I can tithe correctly, speak of only pure things, wear the correct clothing, and never drink another drop of alcohol again, but I would still be without joy if I never loved all beloved creations. If I didn’t help the homeless, closed my borders to the foreigner, or upheld white supremacy, I could never find joy. If I give my ego the captain’s seat in my life, I could be without true happiness. If I went all in on a life filled with looking perfect, I’d be betting on a losing hand.

If this season you are finding yourself without joy in your heart, get some quiet time with God and ask the Spirit to search your heart. Maybe it is lack forgiveness blocking your joy. Maybe it is fear, hate, or lack of wisdom. For me, it is a lack of appreciation. Which turns me to look at my ego. There seems to be a bit of ego lingering around, and it’s blocking my heart from experiencing pure joy. 

Practice: Meditate on the commandments of Jesus. Where do you see joy in these regulations?

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

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