A popular song asks: “What’s love got to do with it?” It turns out that the answer for Christians is “EVERYTHING” for God is love! This divine love, agape love, always seeks the highest good of others and is not dependent on feeling or emotion. It is essential for Christian living. Other forms of love include: storge (family love), philia (friendship love) and eros (romantic love). Reading I Corinthians 13 daily provides a guide for a life filled with love. Love becomes apparent through actions. It is demonstrated when we listen with genuine interest; affirm people’s gifts, talents and abilities; focus on reconciliation rather than retaliation; take the time to get to know, understand and include people from all walks of life; accept points of view that differ from ours; and encourage as well as celebrate the uniqueness of individuals.
What is joy? Possibly it can be viewed as “love smiling” since there is no place for long faces in Christianity (John Drescher, 1974). It is deeper than feelings of happiness. Although joy and happiness are often used as synonyms and perhaps there are elements of each embedded in both, they are different. Should we assume that if we don’t feel one, we don’t have the other? Happiness can be simplistic, based on circumstances; while joy appears to be nuanced, deeper and more difficult to define. It does not depend on outward circumstances for its existence but is rather a reflection of the inner life and indicative of good spiritual health. “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things” (Kay Warren, 2012). Joy is enriched through sharing and replaces envy when we “rejoice with those who rejoice”. Being thankful is also important. A quote from Ann Voskamp states: “Start the day with a grateful heart and you get a day with a joyful heart”.