August 9, Resisting Joy

Today’s reading: Psalms 41-45

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” - Psalm 45:7.

This verse was highlighted in the June 18 entry since it is quoted in Hebrews 1:9; here it is in its original context in the Psalms. God anoints you with joy to help you know what you are supposed to do for Him, and then to give you the strength to do it. Yet many of us have been taught not to trust joy because it is an emotion and is subject to sinful and selfish manifestations. Yet, why would God create you with joy to perform some deed, and then not allow you the outlet to express and savor that joy? Joy is not only your strength (see Nehemiah 8:10), it is also the means by which you can pick up your cross and follow Him, as Jesus taught through His own life:

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 perfecter 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).

Are you expressing your joy or are you ambivalent about its role in your life? What would you do with your life if you followed your joy?