“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
The Look of Joy
Always be full of joy in the. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do (Philippians 4:4-5 NLT).
A while back, my wife and I were co-teaching the book of James to a small group. After spending an hour talking about the book, we barely finished James 1:2, which tells us to consider it an opportunity for great joy when troubles come our way. Doesn’t that sound easy and fun?
While Barbara led the group discussion around the question, “What does joy look like?” I meandered over to Philippians 4. I knew it had some good stuff to say about joy, so I found the above passage I wanted and read it to the group. And as soon as I did, I knew it was going to bother me.
Although Paul wrote to the Philippians from prison, he still finds a way to be joyful. I didn’t say he was enjoying his stay in prison, but that he chose joy as his attitude. So far, so good. Paul is a better man than I am, but that is not what struck me. What struck me is what I call “The Look of Joy.” We’ll often ask what love looks like, and there is even a song called, “The Look of Love.” But what about joy? Barbara asked, “What does joy look like?” According to Philippians 4:5, joy looks like “consideration.”
That is when I got bothered. I knew from experience that when I’m in a good mood and everything is right in the world, I show copious amounts of consideration. I tip the waitress more than she deserves, give more money to the needy and smile for no sane reason. However, when I am not joyful – when I am hurt, angry, disappointed or preoccupied with my own problems, I am not very considerate to others. In other words, I’m joyful and considerate when I feel like it and not joyful when I don’t want to be. If there is a trial, I’m not joyful and considerate and if the trials are minimal, I’m a nice guy.
What an awful way to live like a Christian.