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The nature of joy is that it’s not fully realized until it’s expressed.

[/ultimate_heading][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][us_sharing providers=”email,facebook,twitter,gplus”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Walking back through the streets of Jerusalem after being in exile for 70 years, the Psalmist writes, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’” Yes, going from being in captivity in Babylon to rebuilding and restoring the city of Jerusalem was a ‘great thing.’ It was a miracle. It stands in infamy to this day as a work so mighty only God could take credit for it.

The ability to choose joy demands an awareness of God’s divine grace. It’s what the people of Israel had as they stood inside the gates of the once felled city of Jerusalem. They saw the hand of God at work in their lives and they were conscious of the reality that God had been unnecessarily and abundantly good to them. However, the joy the Israelites felt about God’s restoration was not in awareness alone, it was a declaration they made! They “shouted for joy!” The nature of joy is that it’s not fully realized until it’s expressed. To summarize C.S. Lewis, the act of expressing joy is the consummation of truly receiving it.

How many “great things” does God do that we simply walk past? It is a discipline to see the work of God in our lives. As human beings, we have the tendency to take the air in our lungs, the tasks we can do, and bodies that function for granted. Often the consistency by which God blesses our lives erodes our ability to see His hand at work. What are some of the ‘great works’ of God you have taken for granted? What are some of the blessings you’ve walked past? Take some time today to cultivate an awareness of God’s hand in your life and then respond by expressing gratitude! If you’re on social media, post something and tag it with #psalmsofascent so we can celebrate with you. If you’re not on social media, write your ‘shout of joy’ on a post-it and place it somewhere you’ll see it throughout the day.

 

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with.” C.S. Lewis in Reflections on the Psalms

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By Ryan Paulson

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