- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On July 2, 2017
- 80 Comments
Joy is very important in the lives of Christians, I believe. For many years, I’ve walked with a personal philosophy summed up in the following couplet:
I owe it to God and me
To be as happy as I can be
Although some try to distinguish joy from happiness, saying the former is deep-rooted, steady and not dependent on circumstances while the latter is superficial, ephemeral and determined by favourable circumstances, I make no such distinction and my dictionary backs me up. The smile on my face says I’m happy and it comes from deep within my heart, regardless of circumstances. Call it happiness, call it joy, it’s all the same to me. And it’s extremely important in our lives, otherwise the Bible wouldn’t admonish us thus:
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” – Philippians 4:4
The circumstances that led to my decision to walk in joy are presented in an earlier post which you can click the title below to read.
I’ve also addressed the flip side of this in two previous posts. You can find motivation for living joyfully in the first and specific ways of beating the blues in the second.
In today’s post, I simply want to share three benefits I’ve derived from living joyfully.
? 3 Benefits I’ve Gained from Walking in Joy ?
? I am healthier: There’s a strong connection between the state of our minds and our physical well-being. This is not just my experience, it has been scientifically proven. According to a Harvard Health Publication (Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, mindfulness, and inner strength:
Positive emotions have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being in numerous scientific studies. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry, and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease, as people react to these feelings with raised blood pressure and stiffening of blood vessels.
I believe this is what the Bible is referring to when it gives the reminder in Nehemiah 8:10 that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
? I am more approachable: When I was younger, I frowned easily or rather habitually. I didn’t realise this until one of my cousins pointed it out. He celebrated when I smiled and I thought he was being unnecessarily fussy. Until I started work.
My first few years on the job, students were afraid of me. I came across as a hard-hearted person and was widely described as such just because of my countenance. (It took a while for me to make connection, though.) Those who dared to come close to me were pleasantly surprised to find me warm and playful. Meanwhile, I was missing many opportunities to be a blessing to the young people I taught because only a few could pluck up the courage to ask for my help.
Perhaps, I should tell you a little about my job. I teach Mass Communication in a university. At every point in time, we have hundreds of students, some of them overwhelmed by academic, social, spiritual and financial needs. It’s a great ministry platform only if you make yourself available. In my case, I was physically present but my frown said I wasn’t emotionally available.
Praise God, all that has changed ever since I traded my frown for a smile.
The thing about being approachable is that not only am I able to reach out to others, people feel freer to bless me too. For instance, I cannot recount the good will, prayers, kind words and so many other blessings I’ve received from my present and former students. I told the hilarious story of one such blessing in the posts below.Trading one's frowns for smiles opens up doors of ministry for a Christian. Click To Tweet
? I am more creative: I will explain this in respect to my blog. The Bible says that in God’s presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). The way I see it, my sunny countenance surrounds me with the Divine Presence. Let’s look at the totality of that verse:
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Part of those pleasures, I believe, is sharing in God’s creative ability: having constant inspiration and seeing the concepts in my mind take shape, albeit electronically for now. It is just as Wisdom, which I believe is a figure for the Lord Jesus, disclosed in the book of Proverbs:
“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” – Proverbs 8:27-30.
Our God is the Creator of all things. He made the world in six days but He’s not done creating beautiful things. When I’m joyful, I bring down His presence and the same creative energy flows through me, making preparing my blog posts grace-filled. I believe it can be so for anyone who needs inspiration for whatever wholesome thing they want to come up with. Another exciting thing about this is the infiniteness of this capacity. It’s simply mind-blowing!
Would you join me today? Make joy your watchword.
But to make this work, you need to accept the finished work of Christ on the cross. You see, sin separated us from God. Christ came and died to pay the debt for our sins. Receive the free gift of salvation he offers today by making Him your Lord and personal Saviour. That would reconcile you to God and give you unhindered access to His presence.
God bless you richly as you do this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
What other benefits of joy have you observed in your own life and in the lives of others?
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