Why is joy so hard to find or why is joy so hard to manifest? Is that just a modern/post-modern phenomenon or has this always been a challenge for Christians. I think is starts with understanding what joy is a product of. Scripture teaches us that joy is a by-product of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We should be joyful because of our salvation and redemption.
This does lead us to the question: do we not understand the gravity of our redemption or do we just not see the need for it? Perhaps I am taking too narrow of a view. We could expand the source of joy to more arenas.
The Christian life is more than just salvation. While in the Western evangelical world has focused a great deal on personal salvation, aspects like Christian community have been overlooked. Without robbing the “joy of our salvation” I believe we can also take joy in a faith community, the “communion of saints.”
Here is the rub . . . it has been my experience that people generally don’t value relationships. Often we view relationships as transactional; we relate to those who can do something for us and the other considers what we can do for them. Secondly, relationships are hard; we have to work at them. Frankly people don’t want to make a deep commitment to another. I see this particularly in relationships between men. The stereotype that women are more relational and men are not seems to be somewhat true, either by nature or by nurture (I’m not sure . . . I’m not a sociologist).
Is salvation and friendship not enough to draw joy out of us?
(There are other areas of our Christian life that perhaps we can draw joy from, these might be included in a discussion for a different day - comment below with your ideas).