So sang the Mamas and the Papas in their 1966 hit. If you can’t trust the first day of the week, some believe you really can’t trust the third Monday of January, known as “Blue Monday.” In 2005, Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University in Wales coined a formula that included such factors as bleak winter weather, holiday debt, low motivation and broken resolutions to justify singing the blues on this particular Monday. Though the calculation looks plausible to a layman — and indeed was widely reported as true — “Blue Monday” has since been exposed as a publicity stunt by a now-defunct British tourist agency to sell trip packages.
Still, we all get the blues from time-to-time. And Monday can bring on the blahs after a fun weekend. So here are three Bible verses that can kick off your week with joy and turn a Blue Monday into a New Monday.
“THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.” Nehemiah 8:10
Have you ever thought of the Lord as joyful? A lot of people view God as that eternally-sour old man on the porch who yells at people to get off his lawn. But this verse tells us that God possesses joy. And what brings Him joy? The Bible tells us over and over that God delights in His people.
When I was a kid, it seems that all I did was pull weeds. I hated pulling weeds. I had more important things to do, like ride bikes with my buddies or watch mindless TV. One sweltering day, as I was slaving over a weedy bed, Dad walked out with a smile. “You’re doing great, Son!” he beamed. “I’m really proud of you. Here’s a quarter. Keep up the good work!”
The money was definitely a motivator to keep going, but even more so, my dad said he was proud of me. He was happy and that made me happy. His joy became my joy!
Now think about our heavenly Father, infinitely more wise and loving than any earthly parent. Can you wrap your mind around the fact that the Creator adores you, the Ruler of heaven and earth prizes you? Knowing that He regards us as a treasure, that we bring Him deep happiness, is our strength.
“YOU DO NOT SEE HIM NOW BUT YOU BELIEVE IN HIM, AND SO YOU REJOICE WITH INDESCRIBABLE AND GLORIOUS JOY…” I Peter 1:8
Peter was writing to Christians scattered over Asia Minor, which is current-day Turkey. They had never seen Jesus like Peter had, although they trusted Him. These believers were exiled from their native lands, yet they had found a lasting home in their Savior. Because of their love and faith in Him, they were experiencing a joy that was “indescribable and glorious.”
This joy is the deep, quiet, contented gladness of knowing God as Father, Jesus as Elder Brother and the Holy Spirit as Comforter and Counselor. Such a relationship brings out joy that no hyperbole can capture. It is a joy from another world.
“TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU…” Matthew 11:29
A yoke doesn’t seem like something you would want to take on. It is an instrument of toil, meant for beasts of burden. Symbolically, a yoke can be a strain that unreasonable people lay upon our backs or that we put on ourselves in a spirit of condemnation. Religiously, it is the bundle of legalistic rules that some churches demand you carry in order to “get in good with God.”
Jesus offers another yoke — His yoke. It is indeed something to bear, but it is “easy,” meaning kind, benevolent, gracious. The yoke of Christ is “light.” It does not grind you into the dust with impossible demands or weigh you down with onerous religion. It is a learning tool, not a burdening tool. “Learn from Me…” Jesus does not want the world to teach us what is right and wrong. He instructs us not to allow the voice of sin to become our master. He invites us to come to Him, the Good Teacher.
When we enter His rest, we cease from self-salvation efforts. When we come to Him, we stop striving and start living, for, finally, we are “set free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
Blue Woman photo courtesy of Oltre Creative Agency via Pixabay