A serious look at JOY!
We have all read or heard "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Is this true or false? Is this experienced only by those who are perfect? Why are so many weak? Why does it seem as though mental and physical illnesses are on the rise in an advanced society? We cannot continue to flippantly recite Bible versus in a blind hope that they are experientially true. Let's deal with this, together.
This morning, I was listening to one of my favorite bands, FOR KING AND COUNTRY. The song, "JOY", was played. I decided to focus on the lyrics rather than the catchy rhythms. The chorus - "I Choose Joy - Let it move you" rocked my reality. Choose joy? I thought it was a foregone conclusion we all, as believers, have that joy in us. Are these guys who sing chart-topping tunes preaching truth? Fact: we all have the spirit of Christ dwelling in us. I contend that JOY is a focus - of something in us.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)
The Joy set before Him. Meditate on that for just a second. The Joy set before Him. There was joy in front of HIm. He was intensely focused on that Joy. It enabled Him to endure what we will never have to experience.
It was Joy
that became that SUPERNATURAL strength
He needed to endure the cross.
Joy made a way for Him to complete His earthly journey. It was Joy that secured His success. Joy became His blinders, so-to-speak, from the things around Him that would cause most to faint. We will never experience the depth of suffering and pain Jesus went through to secure our salvation, but it is that same Joy that will release us from the grips of darkness, failure, and depression while on earth.
We choose to believe so many things that can produce death (or at the least mental and physical issues). Circumstances dictate a measure of depression, distraction, failure...and on and on. I am not minimizing our situations in the least. I am suggesting a remedy though. It concerns me that we are seeing an exponential rise in maladies to the body and soul (yes, even amongst the Redeemed), we accept all kinds of reasonings to stay bound. We cite statistics, expert studies, and man-made remedies that may not work - only to succumb to doubt, fear, loss of dreams, and even life, itself.
Instead of running to grace, we naval gaze - bombarding God with our sins and weaknesses (i.e. "I am a sinful, ugly, unworthy wretch" and so on) - providing a continual litany of complaints in our prayer time. What is our focus in prayer? Us. Our weakness, rather than His strength. Talk about joy destroyers.
Before the "chosen heresy-destroying army" comes against what I am saying, let me be clear: Sin is serious. Sin has no place in us. Sin is death. My question is: why don't we consider Joy? Why do we master sin language and not joy language? Why don't we meditate on His goodness more than our weakness. (answer: "Because it's the religious thing to do." - self-annihilation). Take a page from David's psalms. Take any of them. At first, he seems to be fixated on his failures, his enemies, or his lack of righteous behavior...but have you read beyond that? Instead of staying in a place of guilt and shame, he quickly changes the discussion...BUT GOD. He recites the truth of God's mercy and grace. He confesses and quickly moves to that which unlocks SUPERNATURAL joy. It was David's focus on God and His ways, NOT HIS OWN SIN, that revealed God's grace and joy.
What can we do about our sin...Honestly? What can we do? NOTHING! But Jesus can do something about it. Why is our focus our bellybuttons and not His face?
Is His grace really sufficient or must we continue in a self-produced, false humility of sin conscious behavior? The law brings death. Grace brings life. Let's be clear about that. I contend that when our FOCUS is on Him and the Joy set before us, His grace obliterates our sin. In fact, when we focus on Him, our tendency to succumb to the temptations of the flesh are less likely.
Joy is seeing Him. Wow!! Aghhhhhh!!!!! Look deeply into His eyes. There is joy there. We see it on HIs face. It is still His focus. That focus never changed. He sees us with Joy. It doesn't mask who we are, it brings definition to us...His definition. Joy brings peace, strength, and expressions of the supernatural. Joy allows the strength of grace to overcome our weaknesses, allowing us to boast in our weakness....because we know that grace is truly sufficient. Grace is real. Grace is not cheap in any form or fashion.
Joy is an intense focus on Jesus' face - not our dirty navels. Joy is touching the optimism of Jesus for us. Joy sees the victory when others see defeat. Joy allows us to stand still and see God's deliverance even in our current circumstances. If you and I choose joy, we can endure anything. Setbacks will become opportunities. Weaknesses of the flesh will turn into an opportunities to boast. The strength that Joy provides will overcome health issues, in all forms.
Pray this in faith (faith being the tangible belief that God is faithful to His beloved and His word):
"Father, I choose joy over feelings. I choose joy over feelings of failure or victimhood. I choose joy over circumstances that are depressing. I choose joy over condemnation. I choose joy over fear and doubt. I choose joy over the voices that discourage me - even my own. I choose joy as You did to endure anything that is in my path. I choose joy, I choose joy, I choose joy." Pray this again in faith, not by rote. It will become a reality in our lives as we confess it and believe it. We give room for that Joy to be our strength as we focus on His provision for us - the Grace of Calvary.
Now, simply stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Stand and enjoy His springs of joy that will strengthen you.
Beloved - you are His joy. He is ours
HE IS RISEN!!!
Have fun and watch this video!!!: