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The Art of Joy

April 12, 2019
By Martin Luther

His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.

PSALM 30:5

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The Art of Joy

It is, therefore, easy to say that the true fear of God is a filial fear, that is, a fear mixed with joy or hope. But if you follow your feeling, you will perceive that joy is all but overwhelmed and extinguished by fear. But you must not on that account let your heart sink or despair, but trust in the Lord and lay hold on His Word, which declares that God's anger is but for a moment (Psalm 30:5) and His favor is for a lifetime. That is, God wants us to live. He does not want us to perish. And for this very reason He sends us blows. And so it happens that you feel at least some small drop of joy. It will grow little by little until it finally overcomes fear. The practice is difficult, but is nevertheless of the kind which the saints of God learned to do, as their examples show. We, too, must follow in their footsteps and learn this art also. Moreover, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid, especially when we pray.

From Commentary on Psalm 2 (Luther's Works 12:78)

April 12