Joyful Alignment

Jennifer Lim, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | January 18, 2024

Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 
They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 
You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 
Psalm 119:2-4

Joy is not normally a word I would use to characterize the discipline of obedience. I say this having just recently watched my toddler collapse into a puddle of tears and temper when I told him no, he can’t have chocolate right now, he has to eat his dinner first. (Believe me kid, mommy wants chocolate for dinner too!) The discipline of forming healthy habits is not always a joyful one. 

Life is full of moments like that. Do you want to experience the joys of being wealthy? Make a budget and stick to it! What about the joys of a healthy body? Eat your vegetables and exercise! How about a strong and healthy marriage? Learn to love someone more than you love yourself! 

And what about the joys of a life with God? 

The claim made in these verses, and indeed throughout all of the Bible, is that a life aligned with God is a joy filled one. That’s not to say that in this world that is so affected by sin (the brokenness between humanity and God) that we will not experience times of angst, difficulty, or pain. But throughout scripture, we are called to life with God because that is what we are created for. And our created souls find the most joy when connected to its joy Giver. 

How do we learn to live a life with God? Psalm 119 states that the way to do it is through obedience to the commands that God gives us, which we have access to in scripture. However, as we see in these verses, it is not a thoughtless, soulless, body-less obedience. We are called to be careful, intentional, and fully engaged, from head to soul. 

Next Steps

  1. Whether you’ve never read the Bible before, you’ve gotten out of the habit, or you’ve been a long-time reader, think of a SMART goal you can set for yourself: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and TIme-Bound. (for example, “I will read my Bible for five minutes a day before work for the next three months” or “I will read a book about a spiritual/biblical topic for 10 minutes a day for the next week”). Make it something you know you can do, but will also stretch you a little bit. 
  2. Take a moment to pray—to reach out to God with your mind and soul. Ask for direction. Wait for a response. Take a breath. Be present.