Are you experiencing joy? For those of us that are a Christian our answer should be, “yes.” It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. Joy is experiencing great pleasure and happiness. What greater pleasure and happiness can there be than being a Christian, right? It’s kind of a loaded question. I mean we all know what was paid by Jesus at the cross. There has never been a greater display of love for another than when He laid down His life for all of us. We should be living in an all-out uninterrupted joy fest with God The Father celebrating Jesus The Son, but that’s not the norm. This thing called life has a way of rearing it’s ugly head every now and again and the heaviness of day to day living can come crashing in.

 Now for a long time I truly believed that joy was what had been given to me by the Holy Spirit. I thought it was mine. So I created a bubble of joy to walk around in. The problem with this was, sometimes when I bumped into a stressful situation, it would burst and I would land flat! Scripture tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) I would read this and miss the most important part, the joy was OF the Lord, not me. Wait, what! Joy is something I feel! I can choose joy; it was mine to use! The problem was I wasn’t always choosing joy, at least not in all situations! It’s hard to muster up a jolly laugh when your car dies. Or be joyful when your gripped with sorrow. I would feel weakened as I fought to find joy in the toughness of life. It’s in those moments of desperation we can see the intention of God’s plan for us, if we let Him.

 In rethinking the joy card, I envisioned God wrapping me up in His joy bubble. When we allow Him to place joy around us it protects us. Instead of bursting, because it was built in our strength, we rebound and keep going because it’s built by the one who created you and me. Gods joy isn’t limited to our feeling in a situation or life crisis. He buffers our hearts with his incredible joy! The enemies number one objective is to kill our joy! He tried, and was defeated! Our joy, He has a name, and its Jesus! He counted it great joy to come down off of His throne to take the place on the cross for us. He loves us! His desire was restoration for all of us back to the Father! Thank God It’s His joy that we can go to for our strength.

 In the book of Acts chapter 6 and 7 we learn about Stephen and how he was chosen for the people to minister to them. He was chosen because he was filled with the Holy Spirit and full of faith. Those that were against the disciples of Jesus brought up charges against Stephen that were lies. When questioned about Moses he gave a true proclamation of who he was and what their ancestors did. He didn’t hold back when he told them that they also were a stiff-necked people like their ancestors before them. This infuriated the Sanhedrin and they drug him out of the city and began stoning him. Stephen was in the presence of the Lord most high. During the stoning he cried out to God praying, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” Then falling to his knees he cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Then he fell asleep.

 Wow! Talk about strength, Stephen knew where his came from. The joy of the Lord was his strength. He praised in the midst of the stone storm. Not by anything he could have done, but because of what had already been done, for him, he relied on God and his joy. In my sanctified imagination I see Gods bubble of joy all around Stephen. Each stone bounced off and it was the joy of the Lord where Stephen found his strength to praise His God!

 So maybe it’s time to rethink how we experience Joy. Truly our joy is knowing God’s got us covered! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Have a great week wrapped in the joy of the Lord!

 Kristin Tucker

Director of Worship Arts

 

 

 

Kristin Tucker