We need to talk seriously for a moment. No…REALLY seriously. There is something we need to discuss. It’s important that you get this. Jesus said He wanted you to have it, and the church is severely lacking in it. It will change you. It will bless you. It comes from God. We need to discuss JOY.
I say that the church is lacking in it because we are. I see so many cases of “un-joy” that sometimes I am nearly overwhelmed. Some people bring their problems to church looking for answers. This is good, we should because God is the solution. However this cannot become the sole reason we worship. When we never stop to realize that God is still God, EVEN IN THE MIDST of our struggles, we practice “un-joy” and miss His blessings. Others seem to think the the Christian life is drudgery. I call them “EEYORE Christians”. Its SO hard to follow the rules, it’s SO hard to get up for church, it’s SO hard to smile. Again, when we view Christ from the perspective of “I want my way” it can be hard. There are things that God says will harm us. I see it as JOY that God protects us from our own stupidity rather than “un-joy” in all the things I can’t do. Finally there are people who just seem to be unable to be happy. For some reason they need drama or struggles to propel them from day to day. They always see the glass as half empty. They have become so familiar with “un-joy” that he idea of JOY seems impossible or uncomfortable. I feel most sorry for these folks.
The bible has a lot to say about JOY. Here are some highlights from Psalm 5…
Psalms 5:11 (NIV)
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
- Let all, let them EVER…God’s desire is that you would be JOYFUL. Jesus said it (John 16). God says it over and over. We have to believe that it’s OK to be happy! We should enjoy life!
- Seek God for your JOY – He says “take refuge”! The world will hurt you. If your hope, focus, or desire is on anything else, you will end up hurting. The more you involve God in things, the more JOY you have.
- God wants to PARTICIPATE in your JOY. This is BIG. God doesn’t just give it to you. HE IS IT. God is not the SOURCE of your JOY. HE IS THE SUBJECT. I hope you understand how big this is
God is not standing by giving you permission to be happy. He is the thing that makes you happy.
This is at the core of understanding JOY. Your struggles can’t bring you down because being with God is better than your problems are hard. The drudgery of life can’t drag you down because God is going through it with you. Finally, you can’t only see the glass half empty because God is standing there ready to refill it. God literally IS YOUR JOY.
SO, turn that frown upside down. God’s plan is that you are filled with JOY. He will give it to you, He will help you find it, and most of all, HE IS IT. When you realize that, share it so that the JOY we have from Him can be spread to this world. They really need it.
See you Sunday,