The victory of joy and enthusiasm
It is CS Lewis who wrote: 'joy is the serious business of heaven'. God is really very serious about joy. That is why Paul writes in Philippians 4:4 that we should always be joyful. And yet we have grown so used to all the moaners and groaners around us that we are surprised when we meet joyful believers! Then we make comments like: 'What happened? Why are you so happy?' No, wait; we're not 'surprised by joy' as Lewis writes, we're rather 'confused by joy'!
When Paul writes about joy, he doesn't mean we should walk around with fake smiles while we're seething on the inside. God's joy always starts on the inside. It is the result of a life lived in harmony with God. Joy grows inside of us when we choose to live more simply and focus less on what is wrong. Complexity is a joy-thief! And worry is too. Finding joy in the small things changes life into one big adventure. And yes, living slowly enough to give attention to the special relationships in our lives – the Lord, our families and friends.
Be joyful in the Lord! Enjoy His work and His people. Be enthusiastic. This reminds me of the words of one American Minister of Labour, James Hodgson: 'I've never had ambitions, only enthusiasms.' Enthusiasm isn't a reaction, but rather a pro-action! It grows right next to joy in our hearts. It lets us call out with Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that weariness will never overpower us. Even if we perish on the outside, our insides are renewed from one day to the next. Enthusiasm grows when we keep our eyes on the invisible reality that is God. Then our hope is steady and our hearts are light. Then we laugh more. Then we live more, even if we die.