Discovering a Joy that will Last a Lifetime

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How does watching something like that make you feel?  It makes us feel happy, joyful, we love seeing people rise above their problems and achieve something bigger than themselve.

As great as that moment and as awe inspiring as it is, that is just one of millions of examples that happiness is a result of circumstance.  What do I mean by that…Most people don't enjoy life; they just endure it. We think that life must be perfect for us to be happy. If I could just change my situation life would be great. If I could just get rid of all my problems... But there's no such thing as a problem free life. If you're going to learn to be happy, joyful, you must learn to be joyful in the situation, in the problems, in the very experiences of life. Question is, is that even possible can Joy last a life time and then some.

"Happiness" comes from the word "happenstance" from which we get the word "circumstance".  It depends on happenings. We experience happiness when things are going our way…but when they are NOT, happiness leaves us like it was never even there.

Joy is different than happiness. Joy is internal. Happiness is external. You have a happy time at Disneyland, you leave and you lose your happiness. However, Joy is constant. The joy that God talks to us about in His word is a joy that flows out of him and into us.  It has nothing to do with our happenstance.

Let me give you another example.  When I was a kid I remember waking up on Christmas morning and running into the living room to see what all Santa had brought me.  And I remember the happiness I felt seeing those gifts and the stockings full of candy and what not’s.  Oh the happiness of that moment and the excitement…NEW TOYS!!! Fast forward 5 hours later... boredom once again sneaks into the heart and mind, the NEW TOYS, not so new anymore.  Happiness is gone, the moment has passed…WHY because happiness is produced by circumstances, Happiness is external, temporary it only last as long as excitement of the moment.

How does one get the internal Joy that lasts a life time no matter what the moment or circumstance of life may surround you?

READ TEXT: LUKE 2:9-12

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

I.  KNOW THE SOURCE OF JOY

The SOURCE of internal JOY (There has to be a source because you and I cannot product JOY from within) comes from the good news that God provided His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrificial offering who became our Savior.  Through a personal intimate relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ - Joy is birthed within our hearts.  It is simply a byproduct of one’s relationship with God.

A popular and long running television game show, “The Price is Right”, hails its contestants from the audience by calling, “Come on dowwwwwwwn!” Each participant then runs recklessly to the floor and bids on the items to determine who can guess the price the closest.

Jesus has come, lived among us, died our death on the cross and is now calling us to repentance, to reverse the direction we are going.  But a mere reversal is not enough.  To believe is to move with FULL SPEED and reckless abandonment in a new direction.  Elton Trueblood puts it in terms of an eternal gamble…”To be a Christian is to bet your life that Christ is RIGHT.”

We were bought with a price! The blood of Jesus was spent to redeem us from the jaws of hell.  REJOICE be GLAD…REDEMPTION IS HERE! Internal and Eternal JOY is a GIFT that comes FROM GOD…He is the SOURCE of JOY.

Listen to how C.S. Lewis put it in his book “Mere Christianity; “A car is made to run on petrol (Gasoline) and it would not run properly on anything else.  Now God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.  That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way.  God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

The Source is God, the product or fruit is JOY…

Galatians 5:22 tells us, 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”

Joy is a fruit – a byproduct of the Spirit of God that rest within the heart of a believer of Jesus Christ.  Joy is just there, it’s there because of who God is…God is all those things listed in Galatians 5:22.  God is not controlled by circumstances; He is pure LOVE, eternal JOY that does not fade, PEACE that does not cease.

When a child of God ABIDES in CHRIST the FRUIT OF GOD flows in his or her heart and then is a reflection of Jesus Christ’s life. Now does that mean we are not going to hurt when trouble comes? No, that is not what that means. 

A mother who’s young boy was dying of cancer taught him the Twenty-third Psalm, having him repeat, “the Lord is my Shepherd” by counting these five words with his fingers starting with the thumb.  His ring finger was the word “MY.” When he got to that word, his mother taught him to hold that finger in his fist, symbolizing the personal relationship which Jesus had for him.  When the boy died, he was found holding his ring finger.  He died in the Shepherd’s arms.

Are we going have moments in our life where hurt could easily run JOY out of the room and away from our life?  Yes we are! Moments may come where that seems to be the case.  Yet in those moments of disappear, knowing that this world is only temporary but God’s love, peace and joy are forever eternal.  A child of God can truly experience a JOY that can only be explained as coming from God.  So, know the source of eternal Joy then…

II.  STAY FOCUSED ON THE SOURCE OF JOY

God is the Source of Joy, but we have to learn to Abide and Remain and Focus on that Source.

When Jeffery was spiraling out of control, hooked on drugs of all sort, it was a difficult time in the Addison home. However through it all God never left our side.  He gave me hope where hope was not seen, He gave me Peace where peace in human terms could not be felt, He gave me Joy when the moments did not present an opportunity of for Joy.  I personally rested in my Saviors arms.  Trusted Him that no matter the out come, Jeffery was in God’s hands.  And look where Jeffery is today…he is serving God to the fullest.  Praise God, Praise God!

What are you focusing on, your circumstance or your Savior?  When the storms of life hit you and I mean hit you hard, do you focus on the situation you are in or the Savior who is the Source of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE? 

Things don’t always turn out right.  Sometimes we may even question whether God really knows more than we do about this life when we stand in the middle of our chaos.  Most of our disappointment comes because our expectations have gone unmet.  There is a cure for that.  Change your expectations, focus on God, be patient, don’t panic, and remember that God is in control. “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in this world.”

I pray that the God who gives you hope will fill you with much JOY and PEACE while you trust in HIM.  Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen and Amen.

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