“Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation”
So much of our Christian life is held together by joy. Joy helps us remain patient in the moments when we are anxious for what comes next. Joy holds us peacefully when the storms of life rage all around us. Joy makes so many moments of our life exceptional and meaningful. And Joy certainly compels us to be more generous.
So how can we have more of it?
Psalm 95 begins with words of worship and joy but then quickly moves to instructing us on what might remove Joy from our lives.
If we want the gift of Joy, we should not “harden our hearts” like the people of Israel did when they tested and scrutinized God in the dessert even though they had already seen what God can do.
Not trusting and celebrating God in the dessert cost the people of Israel 40 years of wandering.
It is not hard to figure out why the people of Israel would have gotten to a place of questioning and scrutinizing God. After all, they were in the dessert without some of the things they had gotten used to having in Egypt. But more than a journey from Egypt to the promised land, the people of Israel were being called to distance their old life from the one the new one God was creating. Their distrust and scrutiny of God’s new life for them.
For the psalmist, Joy flows from knowing God and trusting in the promise that we are God’s workmanship, God’s creation, the sheep of God’s pasture!
We belong to God as does all of creation.
Joy comes from our hearts and minds being trained to remember those truths and remembering that in our baptism we are brought into God’s family and made heirs to the inheritance he has promised we would enjoy together.
Joy is also found in our efforts to grow in our worship of God and developing the skill of singing, shouting, and giving thanks to the one who has given us salvation.
Rev. Rick Ivey is the Senior Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Beaumont, Texas. If you are looking for a church home and you are in the Beaumont area, Rick would love to have you stop by to worship with he and the rest of his congregation.
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