So That's Joy!January 4, 2017 Gospel Applications
Many of us chase joy as if it were a random piece of paper flying in the wind. We get close enough to touch it and ‘poof’ another gust of wind takes it away. Our hunger for joy causes us to muster up enough energy to go after it again, only this time in a different direction. There is no real strategy, just a chase. A chase to possess JOY. A chase that can leave us disheartened, disillusioned and perhaps hopeless and miserable.
What is your definition of joy? Where does joy come from? Do you believe true joy is constant or does it come and go? Webster’s definition of JOY: a state of wellbeing
Where do you get your “state of wellbeing”? Your dress size, jean size? Being a parent, the size of your bank account? Health, state of your marriage? Material possessions or the size of your home? Having well behaved children? Interesting that we chase joy by achieving the above. But all mentioned are temporary. They can change in a blink. True JOY; a state of wellbeing regardless the circumstances of life, has its roots in God. He never changes.
“I The Lord do not change….” (Malachi 3:6)
Even in the darkest of circumstances, God does not change. He is good, He is trustworthy, He is all knowing, He is compassionate. As a child of God this is where I find my JOY in knowing and understanding to whom I belong; this God who never changes. When life shakes us to the core, there can be JOY; a state of wellbeing.
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5,6)
The idea of being shaken is to be made to sway, to stagger, to totter. The opposite of standing firm. Circumstances of life can be beyond scary and overwhelming. It’s in those daunting places that I long to remember who my God is and to cry out and ask Him how to take the next step in a manner that would please Him or to be still and simply stand. For He is the one I am living for and long to please, even in those dark places.
If one takes the time to dig into Colossians 1:9-14, a progression toward JOY is revealed. We want it. We chase it, even demand it and get angry in its absence. But joy is found from a progression that begins with spiritual wisdom and understanding that is given by the Spirit and ends with joyful thanksgiving.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks[a] to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Notice who gives this wisdom and understanding. “asking God to fill you with knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Colossians 1:9)
God does the filling SO THAT “…we may please Him in every way…growing in knowledge of God.” (Colossions 1:10)…. A progression that begins with asking God to fill us with spiritual wisdom and understanding that The Spirit gives which enable us to live a life worthy of The Lord, that leads to growth and knowledge of God. This growth and knowledge strengthens us SO THAT we have endurance, patience and JOY (Colossians 1:11).
There it is! Joy! But Joy comes after many SO THAT’s…..
SO THAT’S which begin with calling out to our Jesus for salvation FOR His will is that no one should perish (John 3:16) And His will is that we know The Father. The Father who holds our hand as we walk through life. He holds my hand when I am celebrating His goodness and He holds my hand in the dark when I am scared, overwhelmed and do not know what to do. Often we want JOY first. “If only I had JOY then I could be strong and have great endurance. If I had JOY then I would be able to make choices that put God first. If I only had JOY then I could have beautiful understanding and wisdom of who God and His will for my life.” This is why we justify our desperate chase of JOY and even get angry at God when we “don’t have it”. But look how backward that is compared to the scriptures in Colossians 1:9-14. Totally backward.
The scriptural progression toward JOY is God filling us with wisdom, understanding of His will, make tiny and or huge decisions in life that would please our Father, then this produces growth in knowledge of God which then strengthens us SO THAT we then have endurance and patience and Joyful thanksgiving.
May we live in every circumstance of life calling out to our father, “How do I do this, Father? How do I walk, sit or stand in this dark place? How do I walk, sit or stand in this joyous place? Fill me with wisdom and understanding SO THAT I may know you well and live a life worthy of you and give joyful thanks.”
If the circumstances are joyous or heart wrenching AND we know to whom we belong there is an unshakable, unspeakable JOY. Sometimes JOY is wrapped in harmony and peace. Sometimes joy is wrapped in disappointment, pain and heartbreak. JOY: a state of well being: “from knowing to whom I belong”
“I have set The Lord always before me. Because He is my right hand I will never be shaken.” (Psalms 16:8)
Joy is not something to be chased. It is something to be cultivated. And I lose my JOY when I forget who I am living for.