Joy to the World

By Linda Tancs

Joy is the essence of a Christ-centered life. Indeed, Jesus reminded his followers that He came for us to have and enjoy life (John 10:10). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, an attribute of the Christian life (Galatians 5:22). It’s good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). So how do you acquire it? One way is to avoid fear, worry and control. What do you fear? Abandonment? Failure? Death? Fear is sometimes instinctual but often learned behavior. Paul reminds us that God did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Worry is closely associated with fear. But why worry when you can pray (Philippians 4:6-7)? As Matthew pointed out in his gospel, worrying won’t add one cubit to your life (Matthew 6:27). Another joy-robber is a need for control. Are you a control freak? Don’t be a slave to your own agenda. It’s not about you (1 Corinthians 6:19). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to advance God’s agenda, the common good, which is to look to the interests of others above your own (Philippians 2:4). Imagine how joyful you’d feel contributing to the needs of others, especially the poor and needy.

Faith in Action

By Linda Tancs

Pablo Picasso once said that action is the foundational key to all success. Although it’s understandable that one must make a move toward something to learn and grow, the underpinning of all action must be faith. Action for the sake of action is a haphazard way of living. It isn’t purposeful. As the Bible reminds us, God works for the good of those who love him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Do you try to discern God’s purpose for your life? Many people question how they would know it. In our worldly existence it often manifests as a “gut feeling,” an inner knowing of the proper course, particularly if that feeling brings God-given gifts of inner peace, encouragement and confidence (Philippians 4:6-7; Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 40:31). Do you need to adjust your inner compass? Ask the Holy Spirit, your counselor and helper, to guide you (John 14:26).