Thursday, September 1, 2022
I have always loved 1 Thessalonians 5:16. It is a very short verse. In fact, in Greek, it is the shortest verse with only 2 words that combined have a total of 14 characters, whereas John 11:35 is 3 words with a combined total of 16 characters. However, this verse has a big message behind those two words.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 is all about joy. It commands you to have joy and to express it all the time. This is a command that is repeated throughout many other passages in the Bible, including Philippians 4:4 and Psalm 32:11. But, how many of us are constantly showing joy? We all have times in our lives when it is hard to show joy. For some people it may be the morning when they just woke up. For others it might be right after finding out bad news. Whatever it may be, you have had it try to stop you from feeling joy. But, we need to each make the choice to choose joy. In choosing joy, you are choosing to focus not on the problems you are momentarily facing, but on the gifts that God has given you. We need to not choose joy sometimes, but all the time.
However, having joy all the time only partially fulfills what you are being commanded to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. You are supposed to be rejoicing! Rejoicing is more than just having the feeling of joy. It is expressing that feeling of joy. When I think of showing joy, I think of the song “I’ve Got Joy,” which says,
“I’ve got joy down in my heart,
Deep, deep down in my heart!
J-O-Y down in my heart,
Deep deep down in my heart!
Jesus put it there
And nothing can destroy it!
I’ve got joy down in my heart,
Deep, deep down in my heart!”
I love singing this song and it always brings a smile to my face when everyone is doing the motions for it. But what makes this song even better are the little changes my family has made to the song, which were inspired by our friend Jeff. Instead of singing the lyrics, “joy down in my heart, deep, deep down in my heart,” we sing, “joy exploding out of his head, deep, deep out of his head.” We should all have such evident joy that the only way to describe it to others is to say that it is exploding out of your head. Not only should it be exploding out of our heads sometimes, but it should be exploding out of our heads all the time, as we obey the command to rejoice always.
However, that is not the end to the slight changes my family has made to this song. Instead of singing the lyrics, “And nothing can destroy it,” we sing, “And nothing can contain it.” Our joy should not only always be exploding out of our heads, but we shouldn’t let anything stop it from exploding. Nothing should be allowed to contain our joy inside our heads! Our joy should always be exploding out!
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- On a scale of 1-10 how well do you choose joy? On the same scale, how well do you express that joy? One more time, on the same scale, how well do you express that joy all of the time?
- What do you sometimes allow to steal, destroy or contain your joy?
- We know life can be hard. We also know God is good. What blessings from God can you choose to focus on today? (Visit yesterday’s devotion if you need a blessing to start your list.)