House Church Questions – Joy
House Church Questions
We are in a series exploring what it means to “practice the way” of Jesus. To do that, we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 because Paul tells us that the fruit are the marks of a life lived “in step with the Spirit.” That means these fruits aren’t simply values or virtues, but they are the practices of the way.
In week 2, we talked about practicing joy. Which is kind of a strange idea. How do you practice joy? Isn’t joy an emotion or an experience? Part of what makes joy a confusing topic is that we don’t always know what it means. Today we define joy as “emotion evoked by well-being” (Meriam-Webster) or as a “positive human condition” (Baker Bible Encyclopedia). But, both of those definitions seem a bit shallow when compared to the biblical references to joy. So how should we define joy?
This is how we defined it on Sunday: Joy is the practice and experience of trusting in Jesus and his present-future work. In this definition of joy the antonyms aren’t “sadness” or “disappointment” but instead “control” and “resignation.” Both are about refusing to trust Jesus and both deny his hope–– control, through taking on the weight and resignation, through giving it up all together. If Joy is about experiencing and practicing trust, how do practice that kind of joy? It might sound counterintuitive, but we submit ourselves to Jesus, his way, and his hope in this world.
• Joy is the practice and experience of trusting in Jesus and his present-future work.
• Joy is the practicing and experiencing submission to Jesus’ way in the world.
• Joy is practicing and experiencing submission to Jesus’ hope for the world.
1. How do you normally define joy?
2. How does the above definition of joy impact, change, or challenge your thinking around joy?
3. Where do you need practice trust through submission to Jesus? Where do you lack the confidence and freedom of Jesus? The answers to this question can help reveal the places where we need to submit to Jesus.
2. What would it look like for you to submit to his way? Work, home, life?
3. How can you submit to his hope?
4. What would we, as a people, look like if we practiced and experienced this kind of Joy?
• For God to reveal the places where try and take control.
• For God to reveal the places where we give up and resign.
• For help submitting our lives to Jesus, his way, and his hope in the world.