Years ago, I started researching joy—what it is, how it can help us, and how we can cultivate it in daily life. The reason I did this was simple: God cares about joy. After all, there’s a reason why joy is named as one of the first fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.
Over time, I began to see just how much we sabotage joy. One of the biggest ways is by not celebrating.
Joy is the satisfaction you feel when you pursue hope. As we pursue the hope we have in Christ, we reap joy.
Celebration is the act of calling attention to hope.
As Christians, we are called to celebrate because we have a hope that never runs dry. More joy is available to us, if we choose to celebrate hope.
Problem is, we don’t know how or what to celebrate in our daily lives. As a result, we forget or forego celebration.
In this three-day Bible Plan, I’ll highlight specific things you should always celebrate, as revealed to us in the Bible. As you choose to celebrate the hope in these things, you’ll reap more joy.
The first thing to always celebrate is milestones, or momentous events (like birthdays, holidays, achievements). Now, we typically have no problem with this, and neither did the Jewish people in Scripture.
In Nehemiah 8, the people had just finished building the wall and are gathering to celebrate The Feast of Trumpets. This was a day to rest (Numbers 29:1).
This is the gift of celebrating milestones: we get to rest and slow down the speed of life, so we can refresh the hope we have in God.
But in Nehemiah 8, we also see the people celebrate progress. This is what we often struggle with.
When the people are gathered together, they hear Ezra read the Scriptures. And because they understand it, they realize how far they have fallen and how far they have to reach to get back to the standards of Scripture. And so, they mourn.
In verses 9-10, however, Nehemiah encouraged the people not to mourn because it is a holy day. And in verse 12, the people make a sudden shift. Now, they celebrate with joy. What happened?
The verse states that the people celebrated because they now understood the words. Instead of seeing how far they have left to go, they reframed their perspective to focus on how far they’ve come. This gave them joy.
Oftentimes, we’re so critical on ourselves when we fall short, and never look at how far we’ve come.
When we celebrate how far we’ve come, we’re encouraged to go farther. When we only look at how far we have left to go, we’re encouraged to give up.
Today, you might be thinking you have nothing to celebrate in yourself. But think about how far you’ve come. At one point, you were not a believer. But now, you’re reading Bible Plans on the Bible App. You’re growing in your Christian walk.
Celebrate your progress. As you do this, the joy you reap will propel you forward.