Create Joy in Relationships
When you’re running low on joy, what do you do with your relationships?
Do you draw near to your friends, or do you push them away?
Do you cry out to your Maker, or do you pull the curtains closed?
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, but God created us to be relational beings like Himself (there are three persons in the Trinity, after all!). So when we listen to the lies of the devil and start thinking that we’re better off alone on our little desert islands of joylessness, we miss out on one of the biggest sources of joy God has given us. We miss out on reminders of hope and grace. We miss out on the satisfaction of a really good brunch or a cupcake at a kid’s birthday party or a walk at sunset. We miss out on the retelling of the Gospel by those around us.
This summer, I want to challenge you to grow in your joy by growing in your relationships. It’s not just me saying that’s important, either. See what Ephesians has to say about growth in the body of Christ:
From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16
When we’re together, we grow. How amazing! We get to hang out with people and water the fruits of the Spirit at the same time! That said, here are two simple steps you can take to encourage those around you to grow in their joy — and you’ll probably find yourself growing, too.
1. Choose a Prayer Priority.
There are so. many. people. to pray for. This is a broken and hurting world, and every day a new tragedy hits closer to home that we’d like. Even when the outside world seems like it’s holding things together (barely), there are constant threats to our joy from our own personal struggles.
This isn’t meant to exclude anyone from your prayers. But choose one or two people to pray for deeply this summer. Ask them for prayer requests. Write their names on a sticky note on your mirror. Write them letters of encouragement. Pray for them in the car while you listen to music. Bring their requests before the Lord, confident that He’ll hear you.
2. Choose encouragement.
Seriously, the world would be such a better place if people used the power of social media and technology to build one another up. We are so often caught in our own search for joy that we forget that others also need encouragement to get there. They, too, need to be reminded of the Gospel. They, too, need to live in the community in order to grow.
Some days, I want to quit social media. Worse, I’m tempted to jump into an argument where I KNOW I’m in the right (that’s all of us, isn’t it?!). But in those moments when I’m about to push “reply,” I know I need to reach for a Bible verse, even if just for myself. God loves everyone Christ died to save, not just the ones I agree with. That is the reason for true joy, and we, in the community, can build one another up and spread that good news.