Joyful Living – a Sin or a Spiritual Fruit?
Is joyful living a sin? Is it wrong to have fun and enjoy life? Is it okay to love life? These are questions that used to haunt me as a teenager. I was on the verge of independence, eager to start out my own life. I had grown to love the Lord more than anything but I didn’t know if it was okay to have fun, enjoy life. I have a bubbly personality so this was indeed an important question for me. Should I suppress my joy?
What did I learn? I struggled, prayed, talked to mentors, struggled and prayed and came to an understanding that, actually, it would be a sin not to love LIFE that God has given you. We are not to love the world or things of the world but we are to love life and the Giver of Life. Loving life is the best thank you we can give to the Giver of Life. We are to love life and live our lives with thankful and joyful hearts. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” [Philippians 4:4]
Mother Theresa has said “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” Joy of living is not a sin but it is a spiritual fruit that God can use to catch souls.
We are not to live of the world but we have been placed to live in the world. It is a challenge to live a balanced life of a follower of Christ but we are not alone on this journey. God is willing to help us each step of the way if we are willing to receive the help.
Saint Augustine has said “A Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.” Indeed! God has blessed us with joy of salvation! God has blessed us with a beautiful world! God has blessed us with grace upon grace! What’s not to like? Sure, there are struggles. Sure, there are bad days. Sure, there are bad things in this world. But we have been made right with God! We are citizens of God’s kingdom! We are called to love and serve the Lord!
Our joy is not happiness of the wordly pleasures. “Happiness depends on happenings; joy depends on Christ” (anonymous). Our joy is far deeper than that. God has brought us from the land of death into the land of living!
We are to enjoy ice skating and family fun! We are to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. We are to enjoy good laughs and sharing our life with others. We are to enjoy this life that God has given us. As long as we remember the Giver of Life and give thanks and praise for him. As long as we remember what he is asking us to do.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.(Micah 6:8)
Thank you for giving us life!
Thank you for giving us joy!
Thank you for giving us your grace!
Show us how to live out our joy in Christ!
Show us how we can catch souls with your joy in us.
Guide us to act justly, to love mercy
and to walk humbly with you
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What are your reflections on joy of living?