“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.” Hebrews 12:2
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
One of my life goals is to be a joy-filled person. I have for a number of years made as my New Year’s resolution “choose joy in all circumstances” When I read a quote this past week, it made me stop and ponder once again the topic of Joy in my life. The quote was from Bob Goff’s Instagram post and I learned is found in his book – “Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People.” The quote was; “When joy is a habit, love is a reflex.”
As I pondered Bob’s quote, it made me once again desire to have these qualities evident in my life. I want the joy of the Lord to be seen by others in my life. I also want love to be so ingrained in my life, that it becomes a reflex rather than an effort…which I hate to say, is too often the case.
Joy is the second character quality mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the list of nine Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 which are descriptive of God’s divine character. The Fruit of the Spirit is that Godly character that is formed in a life submitted to God. They are the complete opposite of the carnal man that is described in Galatians 5:19,20 as a man who follows the desires of his sinful nature. We know that spending time with Jesus and allowing the Spirit of God to transform us is really the only way that joy is developed within us, especially as we live in the hostile and contentious environment of our culture. Choosing to make joy a habit requires us to turn our focus outward and focus on what moves the heart of God, which is so difficult in our “self-centric” focused world. Yet as we shift our attention away from our problems, our difficulties, and most importantly our-selves, we do begin to regard others as made in God’s image and joy then has the room to grow.
To see “love being a reflex” because of the habit of joy is what made me pause as I pondered this quote. For clarity’s sake, I sometimes need to reflect on the opposite or inverse side of the statement to fully appreciate the beauty of what is being said. The opposite of joy could be defined as being grumpy, dejected, despondent, or even disheartened. The life that has allowed a grumpy spirit to take control most often has anger or frustration as its reflexive response. When I then viewed Bob’s quote with this cultural backdrop, it made total sense to me that the opposite is true as well. When joy becomes a habit, love does become its corresponding reflex.
I see this trait reflected in Jesus best as described in Hebrews 12:2… For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame. Joy was ever-present in Him and His love for humanity was his reflex seen through his sacrifice upon Calvary’s hill.
May Joy be our habit…so that love becomes the reflexive overflow of our hearts.