Let's inspect an interesting topic today: Joy.
You know it's a bad day when you put on your pants backward by accident and they actually fit better. You know it's a bad day when you bite into popcorn and you realize that "crunch" wasn't the popcorn, but your tooth. See, what we really need is joy, but what we are really chasing is happiness. Happiness is based on chance, but joy is based on choice. God desires for his people to be filled with joy. We have so many resources at hand, yet we are some of the most unhappy people.
Think about the words "bright" and "shiny". When David came back from fighting Goliath, there was a brightness and shine emerging from him. Others are "leaping" and "jumping". When Jesus healed the lame man, he was leaping and jumping with joy. When was the last time you were bright & shiny with joy? When was the last time that you were leaping & jumping with joy? Know that God is spinning and jumping around us with joy, but are we realizing that? Are we spinning and jumping with joy knowing that He is there with us?
In the Inuit culture, they have no word for "joy". A missionary decades ago went to the Arctic to share the Gospel, but he realized that they had to word to describe the word. He looked around for a reference and saw one. When the dogs were fed, they jumping, barked, and wagged their tails nonstop. The missionary told the Inuit people and their Bibles would be forever written so that the word "joy" was replaced with "wagging our tails".
There's a relationship between Grace and Joy. The translated words in the Bible are very close, which makes sense that they are so closely related. In a world struggling to much, we need the Grace of God.
What is the secret of Joy? The secret is perspective. When we have the wrong perspective, we are robbed of Joy. But, when we have the right perspective, we are fortified with Joy. Paul had perspective. Paul gladly talked about his suffering. But, he said that the suffering pulls out the hope and character that we have. When we look to God when we are going through suffering, we can have great, deep joy knowing that God is there with you and working through you. We can then have the proper perspective that God is in control.
If we knew that God was in total control, and that God was going to use the positives and struggles to further us, we'd understand true joy and the world would be confounded. The happiness would be replaced by joy. Letting joy be deeply rooted within us will give us perspective and allow us to see that God is in total control.
Joy is knowing the God will never leave us, nor forsake us. It's also knowing that we have peace with God. When we understand that we are forgiven, then we are not an enemy, but a friend. When we are in the midst of trials, we sometimes have a narrow perspective. But, if we can have true joy, our perspective will be widened and we will be at peace.
So, what are joy killers; not in others, but in yourself? One is selfishness. When we're always focused on ourselves, we can't see beyond us. We will have disorder and "every kind of evil". This is in the Bible! The joy is sucked out and replaced by evil. Another is resentment. People that are offended easily are consumed by bitterness. It causes harm to others as well. Why? We're supposed to be leaders, but how does bitterness lead? The last is fear. It makes us fearful and distant.
What are the antedote? Here are three things that can kill the joy killers. First, focus on giving more than receiving. This will make it possible for you to desire and enjoy people. This leads us to enjoy life deeply. Second, focus on your healing more than your hurting. When we can dig into the hurt, we allow God to walk with us and allows for healing to take place; this allows for forgiveness. "Be gentle and ready to forgive." Forgiveness is a gift to you, not to others. When we hold a grudge, the only people hurt are ourselves. Finally, we need to focus on the Power of God. "A mightly fortress is Our God", right? This song was a popular bar song at the time and it was made relavent for the current generation and for renewed belief.