Joy Down In My Heart

As a child, attending Vacation Bible School was a highlight of my summer. I loved the arts and crafts, playing with the Bible characters on the felt board, the lessons, and of course, all the fun songs. One of my favorite songs from VBS is “Joy in My Heart.” You know the one, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…” The song is a light-hearted and fun reminder that you should always have joy in your heart.

But what does it mean to have true joy? Joy is gladness not based on circumstance. If you are placing your happiness, your joy, on what is happening to you or around you, you will never truly be joyful. 1 Peter 1:8-9 says, “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.”

Having and placing our full faith in Christ will bring true joy. Happiness is a choice. Joy in a choice. Not allowing the small inconveniences of life to make you upset is a testament of faith. When the car in front of you takes 3 million years to make a right turn or when the person behind you in line at the grocery store stands too close, you don’t get upset, you remain calm and joyous. When you are able to be joyous in the small problems, the big problems will be easier. Your faith will just become stronger and stronger.

The link between deep faith and joy is one that goes hand in hand. Most of us want a deeper faith in Christ but don’t always realize that choosing joy in all circumstances will cultivate a life full of faith. Your life will become a testimony of faith and will help bring others to Christ. When you find joy in all, does this mean that everything in life will become easy? Of course not, but it does mean that the hard times will be easier.

Joy is rooted in who God truly is. The world places happiness/joy in possessions, accomplishments, people in our lives, job, and status. But the Bible teaches us that the source of all joy is Jesus. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

North Alabama has just thawed out from the deep freeze we were in a few weeks ago, and I think I speak for most of us in saying that we all got tired of cooking! This week’s recipe is a fantastic side dish that pairs well with all proteins, can be eaten for an afternoon snack, and itself is loaded with protein. Bonus points, it keeps for days in the refrigerator! Make it one morning and enjoy it all week! We love it and I hope you do as well.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3