In these days of terror and uncertainty (the shaking days) the idea of living in a place of constant joy seems as elusive as catching the wind in your arms but there is a way to have joy in every circumstance. I’m not talking about the kind of joy that I remember having as a child on Christmas morning as I sat myself in front of my pile of presents Santa had so skillfully left under the shining tree as we all were dreaming of sugar plums. No, I’m talking about a joy that cannot be stolen, a joy that is everlasting, and a joy that starts in your heart of hearts, that’s supernatural and becomes a central part of our character.
As a realist I cant help but focus on the suffering world around me, lost in confusion and writhing in the pain that comes with turning away from it’s Creator… at times it’s overwhelming. The apparent distain for God and His Word that I see in this generation breaks my heart! I must constantly remind myself that what satan means for evil, God will use for good and for His glory. I truly believe that part of that good that God wants to display must come from God’s people living transformed lives and being a shining light in a dark and perverse world. You don’t light a candle and then put a bowl over it… NO, you put it in a high place so that all can see in the darkness! So that being said, we must take courage as His children and take ownership of what we have been giving through Christ, always sharing His HOPE with the world and STOP our apathetic passive existence. We are commanded to occupy, making disciples in all the world… I could go on.
So joy is something essential to our life as God people, it’s so important that the Lord defined it as a third component of the Kingdom of God! Romans 14:17 says - For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. OK, so there it is, being a member of God’s Kingdom means that we will live a life of joy. I know your thinking, easier said than done, right...wrong! Cause with Christ all things are possible!
First, if we are going to have a transformed heart that’s filled with joy, we must have a renewed mind. We must have the mind of Christ! In the letter to the Philippians it reads - Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Then Paul continues in his letter to ‘God’s beloved in Rome’ that in order to have a transformed life we must pursue a renewed mind. Again in Ephesians we read to be renewed in the spirit of our minds.
All this talk about the mind reminds me of a phrase that my dad used to say, ‘It’s all in your head.’ I guess he was right. In my experience, the battleground is for the mind. Whose ideas rein supreme in your noggin? Are you trying to figure out the mysteries of life by what you learned in science class or what you’ve gathered from some random philosophers? Or perhaps you have a religion that points the way mixed with some other voices in your head. My question to you is this: Do you have abundant joy? Is your joy dependent upon you circumstances?
The only hope for us humans to have complete joy is to fully embrace the truth. Jesus said "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." It is from this place of total surrender to God’s Word that we understand and experience a joy that is complete. Joy that comes from a solid foundation of who we are in Christ, how loved we are by our Creator, and that our Creator has become our Father who will never leave us! And that’s only the beginning of all the benefits of being a part of God’s family and in His Kingdom!
So this Christmas let us reflect (with our transformed minds) on the joy that we have as Children of the Living God and share our HOPE and joy with the world.