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The Joy of Christ

Today’s Reflection

THE REWARD OF FOLLOWING JESUS is joy. Joyful living is when we are always moving toward something new and not stuck in the old. Joy is about experiencing life as refreshed and renewed. There is no “old” joy.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus wants to give us his joy. The joy Jesus promises is something very different from happiness. Often what people call “joy” is really only temporary relief from the pain they experience. Joy and suffering do not go together. Yet some people who have experienced great agony have been joyful because something greater than their suffering was present. Many of the great saints—Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross—understood that human suffering allowed them to grow closer to Christ’s suffering on the cross. So suffering and joy are not necessarily in tension. God’s grace brings our human pain home to the place where God’s joy resides so that we can know God’s joy no matter what is going on in our lives. This is the gift of love: “May my joy be in you, and may your joy be complete” (see John 15:11).

-Henri J. M. Nouwen
A Spirituality of Homecoming

From pages 48-49 of A Spirituality of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab, Series Editor. Copyright © 2012 The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Share your own definition of joy. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

John 20:29, NRSV

This Week: pray those who new believers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

Need a Spiritual Retreat? Join us at SOULfeast, the Upper Room’s spiritual retreat at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, July 14-18, 2013. Come discover how, as the Holy Spirit washes over us, this powerful presence brings us alive to God, community, transformation, and missions in the here and now. For more information, visit soulfeast.upperroom.org.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember
Martin Luther King Jr.
(April 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2013, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Jill April 7, 2013, 4:58 am

    Joy is experiencing and knowing the peace that passeth understanding. It is the trust that is felt deep inside, despite circumstances. It is having the grace to persevere, because of Who holds me.

    • Gary April 7, 2013, 1:49 pm

      Again you have the excellent answer. It was my joy that you did share with me. It is, hopefully, your joy that I praised you. It is Christ’s joy that we both were able to share in His love. Thanx.

  • robert moeller April 7, 2013, 6:18 am

    Thanks Jill, you certainly help me with understanding joy. I need to think about it more. Definitely joy includes having Christ in our lives.

    Home again after a week with Mom I’m thankful that she is doing well and I was able to be with her.

    Lord, I pray for new believers, people too busy to pray, unbelievers, those searching for you, and sheep who have gone astray. I pray too that the faith of believers is strengthened and for the day when everyone in this world will bow before you. Thank you for your love, mercy, and grace and may your peace be with everyone. In your name I pray. Amen.

    • Gary April 7, 2013, 2:00 pm

      It is Christ’s joy that you offer intercession for those people who think they are too busy for prayer. (Actually, did you ever find that when you stopped to pray when you were ” too busy” that everything was way easier than on the days when you did not stop to pray?) It is my joy to be able to share here with you.

  • Gary April 7, 2013, 2:02 pm

    My definition of joy: sharing in Christ’s holy love with others.

  • robert moeller April 8, 2013, 3:47 am

    I’m very glad I returned to yesterday’s reflection and found these wonderful posts. Many blessings to you all.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling May 12, 2013, 6:38 pm

    Joy is knowing that God loves me unconditionally.

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