Would you like some JOY?

02/07/2015 15:16
I've been hunting all over for a special something for an unusual project. Shhh.. it’s a top secret. A surprise for a friend. Since a lot of my time in the next few weeks will be tied up in that secret assignment, I knew I wouldn’t have time for much else. So when a friend and I discussed going for a movie and lunch together, I hemmed and hawed a little. Did I have the time for it?
After some thought, I decided it was important. So last Tuesday saw me whizzing off to the Plaza on that movie date. I realised with glad surprise that it was also a golden opportunity to look for that special something for my project. Would I find it? I’m thrilled to report I did. In fact, I found it at the first shop I entered. I was as delighted as a hippopotamus who’d discovered a mudhole and was ecstatically wallowing in it.
You know, finding my long sought after ‘something’ was a bit like the process of finding Joy. I believed I hadn’t time to go for my movie date, because my special project clamoured all my attention. But the truth was that I couldn’t even start on my assignment without the ‘something’ I found by going for that movie. A bit like the way Joy works. We often think that something or Someone might spoil our joy and so we refrain from doing it or pursuing Him. But have you discovered - life with God is a reversal of the world’s definition of it.
We find life by giving it away. Likewise, we find joy too by giving it away. A sure way of discovering joy is to help someone. Or to make a sacrificial gift. Or to deny myself.  Not the usual recipe for finding happiness. The glorious truth is that happiness and joy are not related – not even third cousins. Happiness depends on circumstances. Joy depends on our Maker. God dispenses this gift of Joy freely. But I do need to do my bit and be in the right place to receive it – like opening a window to watch the sunbeams dance or turning a tap to fill a glass with cool refreshing water.
My friend and I enjoyed some delicious Chicken Tikka Masala, then went for our movie. Joy reared her glossy head once again – one of the main characters in the interesting animation film – "Inside out". I was reminded of a beautiful truth about Joy – that grief and joy are close friends. Grieving appropriately can actually lead to joy. Did you know that? When I attended a ladies evening that same night – guess what the theme was? Why – Joy of course. I lapped up the wholesome, compelling talk on the biblical perspective of Joy. I was given a threefold gift of JOY that day – no wonder I can’t stop talking about it!
During the past 6 months, I've found God nudging me about my spending. I've listened. And it’s brought me joy. Not the shortlived happiness of aquiring something I don’t really need – but the deep refreshing well of joy when I know I’m doing what He’s asked me to do. There's also a glad satisfaction in wanting something – looking at it – but putting it back because I don’t really need it. Joy comes in many different forms doesn’t it?
Joy is a choice I make. Picture a road forking into two – one leading to happiness – one leading to God’s destination. The road leading to happiness will be enticing. Who wouldn’t want to take it? In contrast, the road leading to God’s way will be winding, narrow, difficult, with few travellers on it. But you know what? That road has an amazing view. It’s end is truly heaven. And the trees on that road are laden with the fruit of joy.

Some ways then that I can cultivate JOY:

  1. Trust God with all my heart. Allow Him be the Manager of the Universe – remember it's not me.
  2. Share Him freely with others. There is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. A good portion of that same joy will rub off on me too.

  3. Help others. Be interested in them. Bless them. Rejoice in their joys.
  4. Decide to focus on the positives. Often my feelings stem from what I think about.

  5. Make laughter my middle name. Laugh at myself often. Have fun. Play.
  6. Spend time with Jesus. The number one harbinger of joy is being with Him, listening to Him, worshipping Him, knowing His love, responding to that love.

  7. Cultivate deep, loving relationships. Nothing satisfies as much as close, authentic relationships.
  8. Ask God to give me heaven’s persepective on life. It will open my eyes.

  9. Study the Word and imbibe it’s truths. Soak in God’s promises.
  10. Be obedient. There’s no greater thrill that following the Holy Spirit as He leads.

  11. Use adversity to teach me true joy. It will. Circumstances might shake me but they will never break me, because God is in the picture and He is in control.
  12. Reflect, meditate on and remember all that God has done for me in the past. Rejoice as I remember and give thanks.

And finally….. Choose Joy! 
Daily. Hourly. Moment by moment. The choice is mine.


Would you like some JOY?

“Remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love….. I have told you this that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11