Are you ready for some good news?
Though the pandemic has unsettled all our circumstances, joy doesn’t arise from pleasant circumstances; joy arises from grace.
In his epistle to the Philippians, the imprisoned Apostle Paul mentions joy 16 times. He discovered a secret: joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not a fruit of life circumstances.
How do you stay full of joy? Ironically, it starts with a terrible, wonderful realization—life isn’t fair.
Some time ago, a couple won a million dollar lottery. But there was a painful, ironic twist to the couple’s “good luck.” It turned out that the couple bought the lottery ticket with stolen funds. It was proven that, over a five-year period, the couple stole from the grocery store where they worked by ringing up bogus returns. A hidden camera revealed them taking money from the bogus returns and buying lottery tickets.
I’d like to say they had to give the money back, but they didn’t. Sometimes the unfairness of life just seems terrible!
But, on a deeper level, the unfairness of life is the most wonderful discovery you’ll ever make.
Joy comes from the most unfair deal in the world—the grace of God to sinners.
The Greek word for grace is “charis.” Two other concepts are intimately connected: The Greek word for joy is “chara” and the word for thanksgiving is “eucharistia.”
Chara (joy), charis (grace), and eucharistia (thanksgiving) are inseparably linked.
When you experience the Gospel, you experience grace. Grace means “gift.” Everything that makes the Gospel wonderful is seated in the grace of God – the gift of Christ’s finished work on the cross and His resurrection power.
In this world, you’ll face trouble like any other human being. But, by the grace of God, you’ll face your adversities in an entirely different manner. Transcending your awareness of your troubles is your awareness of the gift of God to you in Christ.
Grace, not circumstances, is at the heart of gratitude and is the cause of all joy. It’s not fair, but that’s the Gospel!