truth about joy
Britt Chole was an argumentative atheist when she
was confronted with the truth of the gospel and
accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior in 1983. Now
a speaker and author, Alicia’s latest devotional
book, Pure Joy!,
has just been published by Thomas Nelson. Chole
recently spoke with Staff Writer Isaac Olivarez.
Where do you find your greatest joy?
In the knowledge that God is near. In practice,
that truth is affirmed in stillness and silence.
God is not only “first,” He is also
“central” — my center of gravity
in life. Keeping an accurate picture of His character
anchors my joy whether I’m thinking in terms
of being a mom or a wife or a minister or a neighbor.
It forms the core of where I find joy in all of
those different roles.
Had joy been pressing on your heart before writing
In a sense, yes. Over the last 20 years life has
often been less than understandable, but through
those times I’ve begun to realize that joy
is not the fruit of circumstance; it is the fruit
of faith. Joy is the fruit of being consumed with
whom you’re following and not being distracted
by where you’re going or what the scenery
How can parents encourage and equip their children
to find joy?
It goes back to the concepts about God that we’re
giving our kids verbally and practically. Our kids
are going to learn about God through our lives.
They’re going to believe He’s generous
or stingy by listening to our praise or complaints.
They’re going to believe He’s near or
far by listening to our confidence or worries. Our
lives will either point our kids toward God as the
anchor for discovering joy in life, or we will point
them towards a false concept of God, forcing them
to be tossed about in storms before they find the
true anchor of God’s character.
How can people find joy in the midst of tragedy?
We tend to
think that joy is waiting for us — even hiding
from us — in some far-off place that’s
untouched by pain. But we can know joy in the midst
of raw life — not because life is pure, but
because God is pure. Once again, we return to where
our true anchor in life is. If our center of gravity
is how we feel about our circumstances, it might
be impossible to know joy in the midst of tragedy.
But if our center of gravity is who our God is,
then even in pain we can know God’s peaceful
intimacy and hope.
You were an atheist for several years before you
accepted Christ. What was your definition of joy
then, and how has it changed?
As an atheist, joy was pleasure — being applauded
man holding my hand, or enjoying a movie. Now, I’ve
discovered this whole endless ocean called God.
And God invites us to not just sit on the shore
and be amazed at the waves, but to actually wade
into Him and swim in Him.
How can Christians best exemplify joy?
Whether we speak or whether we’re silent,
our lives paint a portrait of God for a watching
world. Regardless of what we say, people will see
what we believe. If our concept of God is off-center,
then our portrayal of God will be marred. But the
more we expose ourselves to the Word of God and
enthrone His truth in our minds — the more
we align ourselves with the truth of God’s
character — the more the portrait we paint
for the world is going to be an increasingly accurate
reflection of our Savior.
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