“A Heart filled with Joy”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, January 31, 2022 comes to us from Shelley Marolla of Victoria, Australia

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

“A Heart filled with Joy”

I have recently enjoyed watching a show where a consultant helps people declutter and tidy up their homes. The consultant’s method is to have items in the home that only spark joy. Clients go through every item they own. If the item sparks joy, they keep it, and if it doesn’t, they get rid of it. It is satisfying to see the joy people feel afterward, when they no longer have clutter in their homes. This got me thinking about the clutter we all have – not in our homes, but in our hearts.

Perhaps it’s a comment someone made years ago that we keep replaying in our minds, or the disappointment we felt when we weren’t given an opportunity, or resentment toward someone for a wrong they did. But I believe God wants to declutter our hearts. What if we refuse to dwell on or be hindered by the memories, behaviors, or thoughts that don’t spark joy in our lives? As Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us, we can do this by looking to Jesus as our example. Jesus was betrayed and tortured. Yet the Bible tells us that because of the joy before him, he endured. Joy gives us the endurance we need to run our race and to get through the tough times.


Friends –

Shelley Marolla reminds me that sometimes, I hold onto feelings, especially grievances, that clutter my focus and divert my attention from what God calls me to do and be in a particular time and place. To the extent that I am able to trust Christ in my life and let go of these distractions, I will be better able to serve God’s purpose for my life. I invite you to consider what “clutter” you might need to leave behind, so that you can better serve Christ.

--Pastor bea


Dear Lord, show us the things in our hearts that don’t spark joy, and help us release them to you. Help us to run our race with joy and endurance. Amen.

--Shelley Marolla

Prayer Focus:

To let go of past grievances

Thought for the Day:

Today I will let go of the clutter in my heart so that I can better serve God.