Do you have joy in your life? No, I'm not asking what type of dish washing soap you use. I'm talking about JOY!!! The kind we feel in our hearts when we are extremely happy.
Before I get started with by discussion about joy, look at the picture at the left. According to the manufacturer of Joy dish washing liquid, there are apparently several levels of "joy." There is now ULTRA joy, as if plain old ordinary joy were not enough. And just to make sure you are really joyful, your ULTRA JOY is lemon scented (sigh). But that raises and interesting question. Is there a level of joy beyond what you are now experiencing? Is there some as yet undiscovered "ultra" joy out there just waiting for you to find it? Ponder that for a moment
So, what represents joy in your life? Is it your family? Your husband or your wife? Maybe it's your children? Or perhaps it's a pet. Or a best friend, a brother or a sister. Mmm. All those are special. Those are all the things I think of when I think of the word joy . . . except for the pets. Just kidding. But what else? Can we think of any other things that bring us joy?
Hey, maybe it's your job. Most of us work because we have to - to earn money so we can "live in the style to which we've become accustomed." But some people love to do what they do to earn a living. Do yo know someone like that?
Does music bring you joy? It does for me. But there are people who really enjoy making music and obtain great joy when their music brings joy into the lives of others.
Let's get a little deeper with our joyous thinking. Do you obtain joy in serving others? We should. Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit.
"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness (gentleness), temperance (self control): against such there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23
What that means is that, if we are a Christian, if we are truly born again, we should exhibit these characteristics of the Holy Spirit.
Do you find joy in suffering? Me neither. I can be pretty mopey if I'm not feeling good or I am having a really bad day. But, according to the Bible we are supposed to feel joy in our suffering.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4
Yeah . . . Umm, I have to work on that one. It's kind of like going to the dentist of getting an innoculation. Short term pain for long term gain. In the long run we're better off.
Is there joy beyond the joys we have already experienced in our lives? I think yes. Look at this verse. How great must the joy, His reward, have been that Jesus endure all the things He did . . . for us.
"2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." - Hebrews 12:1-3
There IS a greater joy that awaits us in heaven. We have no idea what that will be like. But Jesus endured the cross for it. How can our everyday struggles compare to that? Are you ready to experience the "Ultra Joy" that a life in Christ offers us?
I have found that God's Holy Spirit enhances emotions in our lives. He makes our joy greater. He makes the love we feel for others greater. He makes the joy we feel in our willingness to serve others greater.
"5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” - Revelation 21:5
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” - C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Thank you for reading. May the joy that awaits you through a faith in Jesus be quick in coming and slow to leave.
I've Got The Joy - The Cedarmont Kids
Persevering In The Pursuit of Joy - a sermon by Matt Chandler