By The Spirit - JOY
Happy 2nd day of 2019! Two days in and we’re already feeling God change and empower us.
Today we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit: JOY.
Ah, that elusive state of joy.
All of us want it. Few of us, (if we are honest) have it. Jeff Spadafora, life coach and author of The Joy Model writes that “An increasing number of Christians are frustrated… Even as they read their Bibles, listen to sermons, and hang out with other Christians, they become painfully aware that something is missing. (That something) is JOY.”
Joy in Hebrew is “simchah” (read “sim-ka”) a feminine noun (shout out ladies) that means an exceedingly great glee. Not like the show. But the emotion and state of utter giddy DELIGHT. The second word we translate to joy is the Hebrew word “sha’a”. Sha’a is a verb that is akin to a kid playing with their toys on Christmas morning. Joy, it would seem is both a state of being and a posture of activity that is overwhelmingly fun.
The Psalmist writes about joy nearly more than any other book in the Bible. And, according to the Psalms, joy can only come from enjoying and experiencing God. I’ll say that again for because I haven’t had my coffee yet this morning: According to the Psalms, joy is ONLY found while enjoying and experiencing God.
Joy can’t be found in activity or events. In other words, we can’t find lasting joy from a great sporting event, or fitting in all of our ski days (although this Colorado girl bets that would help!!), in new SUVs, or in 401ks. The right pair of shoes, the perfect boyfriend, the best promotion at work won’t hold a candle to what the Psalmist writes about when he writes about JOY.
Joy, according to scripture is found in only in BEING. NOT DOING.
(Enneagram 8s and 3s, I heard you grumble just there.)
We find joy when we experience the presence, and fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Psalmist puts it this way:
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
- Psalm 4:7
God can put more joy into our inner man than the best year-end bonus or the best New Years Eve party. Believe THAT. We have joy when he comes to us and rests on our hearts. He have joy beyond comprehension when we fully engage with his presence. We find joy when we hear the murmurs of the Living God. We experience joy when we just BE. WITH. GOD.
Some questions for your soul this beautiful morning:
When was the last time you went on a walk with God? No agenda. Just to chat with Him.
When was the last time you sat, stared at clouds or falling snow and just listened to the still small voice?
Do you feel you are better at KNOWING God or EXPERIENCING God? There is a difference, after all.
If joy can only be found in the BEING not the DOING than our 2019s must look radically different from cultures. Joy in 2019 won’t be found in instagram posts or vacations, keeping up with the Jones’ or new successes. To have joy we will have to fight back against the tyranny of busyness. We will have to shut off our cell phones. We will have to decide that our soul is more important than our calendar. We will have to BE MORE, and DO LESS.
Here are a few quick thoughts for experiencing God, the author and giver of joy in 2019:
Read the Gospel of John for the month of January.
Find an activity you can do with Jesus. This may be going for a walk. Writing poems. Painting. Just like you have a favorite activity you did with your earthly dad, find one to do with God on the regular.
Turn off your radio or Spotify on the way to work. Just sit and chat/listen to God as you drive.
As you push back against your busyness I know you will find an inner rest, delight, and joy from BEING with our God. May this be your most joyful year yet.