Psalm 16:11 NIV
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Peter quoted these verses of David in Acts 2:28 on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to the apostles. From them we glean that it is God who fills us with joy. We can’t fill ourselves.
Stasi Eldredge has a new Bible Study and book in which she speaks of “Defiant Joy.” Why defiant joy? Her point is that due to the decaying state of the world we live in, the concept of living with joy seems almost like something from a fantasy novel. How could anyone live from a joyful perspective when so many dark and awful things are happening all around you. Wouldn’t one need to suspend reality, withdraw from the world, and ignore the blatantly evil deeds of everyday life to live this way? Her answer, and mine, is a loud and defiant “No!”
God doesn’t call us to live apart from the world. He calls us to live in it, but––and that’s a huge but––He calls us to live as though we are not OF the world. Because we are not! We are of Heaven. The Spanish word for “of” also means “from” If we think in terms of the Spanish phrase–No somos del mundo– it means we are not from the world. Our origin, and therefore our final home, our legacy, our inheritance, is not rooted in the Earth. It is rooted in Heaven. We have a heavenly ancestral home. It is the place we will go when we pass from this temporary residence.
We are not from the world. That idea makes it easier to understand how we can live–fully present in this world– while our roots stretch beyond to our Heavenly destination. This is what enables us to live from a position of joy. My favorite band is Rend Collective. These lyrics, taken from their song, Marching On, provide perspective.
We are standing in holy defiance. We’re declaring aloud in the silence that the Battle belongs to the Lord, and no one else!
We must look beyond Satan’s present to Jesus’ promised future. We look back beyond our own inglorious past to the cross, where Jesus paid for our misshapen rocks with his own blood. If we look carefully, we can see the trail of it across all the rocks of our individual paths. He has consecrated each one by his death–paid the price, so we don’t have to. This is the overlay of joy.
The cross is a powerful symbol. It is at once the darkest and brightest hour in Christian history. Because of it and what transpired there, we can live in joy and hope. I pray that you know the depths of the love Jesus has for you, proven by his death on the cruel Roman cross.