Joy is one of my favorite things. In fact, I’m a little overjoyed at how many blog posts on spudart.org I’ve written about joy!
- What brings you joy
- The simple joys of public art
- Time shouts for joy
- The meaning of joy
- And so on (all the joy posts on spudart.org)
If you also like joy, then how about an entire book explaining all the ins and outs of joy. The president of a major Lutheran synod, Matthew Harrison, wrote a book on joy. In fact, it’s called “A Little Book on Joy“.
I hope to blog about passages from this book as I read it on my Kindle. Here’s my first post.
Joy comes from repentance
Harrison calls out an interesting point about joy, it comes from repentance:
The path to true joy has no detour in the road around the Law of the Lord. The Law brings repentance, and the path to joy is via our own via dolorosa (path of sorrows). If the Law has not produced total self-condemnation, there can be—will be—no joy. Instead, there will be only self-righteousness and hypocrisy, salted with an arrogant condemnation of and snooping for the sins of others—a bad conscience seared into numb bitterness by denial. What a horrid, joyless way to live by comparison. We are all guilty of it.
Wait. What? Isn’t repentance a sad thing? How can you have joy from something sad? Joy comes from repentance, because repenting puts us back on the same page with God. Yes, you can be on the same page as God. Amazing, right? Repenting says, “hey, God. I’m sorry for my sins. I know your law is the way, and I broke it.”
Repent, and be joyful!
In Psalm 51, David asks for forgiveness, and then joy follows.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Luke 15 speaks to joy in heaven from repentance on earth:
Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
Psalm 30:1-5, David again points out how joy comes after repentance
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
I look forward to post more about joy. Stay tuned.