I've been wrestling with the emotion of joy. This season has proven to be more difficult than I'd imagined. It has required me to seek the Lord, to wait and listen for His still, quiet voice more than I ever have. I know that my livelihood rest upon my relationship with the Father.
Times of difficulty test your adaptability. It becomes a mental battle. How you respond to the challenge reveals your character.
My character has proven to be... inadequate.
For a brief moment, which felt like eternity, I allowed the Enemy to get the best of me. He knows where to hit me where it hurts, where it's most effective. My attitude. The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He took my joy with him.
One day, in desperation, I cried out to the Lord, "How am I supposed to do this?"
"Joyfully!" He answered.
Joyfully?? What kind of answer is that? That is not the answer I looking for. I wanted an answer that would provide a tangible way for me to accomplish what was ahead of me. Joyfully? Seriously?!
Looking back I'm not quite sure why I expected a different answer. When does the Lord tell us exactly what we want to hear? Why would He give us an answer without first seeking His heart on the matter?
Finally, I said, "Alright Lord, I'll do it your way...". I searched His word and what He has said about joy.
JOY IS OBEDIENCE
"If you remain in me and my words remain in you... Remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:7, 9-11
When we are obedient to the Lord's commands, we experience all that God has for us. What can be more joyous than experiencing the fulfillment of life that God envisioned?
JOY IS GOD'S GLORY
"If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciple". John 15:5-8
One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. If we are to call ourselves Believers or Followers of Christ, then we are to bear much Fruit of the Spirit. Jesus is the bread and water that feeds us. When He is our source, we cannot help but produce such captivating fruit.
JOY IS HONOR
"You did not choose me, but I CHOSE YOU and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." John 15:16
Wow! How good does it make you feel to know that YOU WERE CHOSEN! You were hand selected by God. Our response to this honor is joy! We joyfully say yes, because He chose us; so that we may be His light and share His "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
This is my conclusion JOY IS A GOD-PERSPECTIVE!
Joy has everything to do with your perspective. Whose eyes are looking through, God's or the Enemy's?
Joy is a choice. It is not easy to to choose joy over anger or sadness. However, when you seek the Lord's perspective, His heart, His eyes, He will give you the perspective and strength to recognize the joy in that moment.
I am still struggling with this revelation. Do not think for one second I've got this figured and have it mastered. I am still wrestling with this daily. However, by pressing in God's heart, seeking His strength, and asking for His perspective, I will be able to be obedient, give Him Glory, and honor Him.
"By the way... what have you done for him lately. OooOooOooo yeah!"