8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV)
There are two key words in this verse that describe the life of a follower of Jesus. Or at least they should describe the life of the follower of Jesus. What are these two words? Love and Joy.
A follower of Jesus is one who loves. First, we love Jesus. We love Jesus because of His great love for us. Our love for Jesus then is demonstrated by our love for others. 10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. 1 John 4:10-11 (GW)
Our lives as followers of Jesus should be marked by love. When people describe you, do they describe you as a person who loves others? If not, why not? God has proven His love for us by sending us Jesus. He has filled us with the Holy Spirit. This means that we have God living inside us. God can’t go against His character. 16 We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God's love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:16 (GW) If God’s character is love, we as His children, as temples of the Living God, should also have characters of love. To say, “That is not who I am” is really saying, “I am not God’s child.” God’s love is so great that if you really are filled with Him, you can’t help but love. To not love would go against your very being.
Secondly, we are joyful people. There is a difference between having joy and being happy. Happiness is a moment by moment feeling. Joy is much deeper. Joy can transcend sorrow. Joy can be found even in suffering. 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)
Being joyful doesn’t mean that we walk around with a fake smile on our faces. Being joyful does have to do with our outlook on life. We see God’s joy in His creation. We take joy in doing God’s will. We rejoice in our salvation while at the same time grieving over our sin.
We enjoy life, but we are not attached to life to the point of forsaking Jesus. Our true joy comes from Jesus. Our joy is not based on externals but on the eternal One. External happiness is fleeting. Jesus is forever!