My response to a brilliant written blog by EJ in the Mirror.
You can read his blog here: Add a Little Joy to Your Day
EJ, you are right on. I meet with several other men twice a month as a Men’s Small Group and we read three chapters of the New Testament daily which comes out to be the entire NT in three months or four times a year. One of the things that I’ve noticed with some of what Jesus says is regarding Joy…
1. The Joy of the Lord is your Strength
I see, hear and work with Christians that are kind of gloom in how they look at life. I used to be a negative person but didn’t realize that until someone said, ‘think positive man.’
It hurt. Bad.
But after getting over myself I began to read about how successful people look at every day as a new day to learn. Pete Carroll lives by the motto: There is no such thing as a bad day. I’m still getting used to that type of thinking but practice it everyday in looking at it as a good day… regardless of what has happened.
If the opposite of strength is weakness, and the joy of the Lord is our strength, the only conclusion can be that there are a lot of weak Christians out there, some that I love dearly.
2. Are there levels of Joy?
Part of my men’s group is to start the session by asking everyone ‘what jumped out at you in your reading.’ One of the things that jumped out at me is when Jesus mentioned ‘complete joy.’
I asked the question to the other four men, ‘are there levels of Joy?’ I think to myself how I felt after the Seahawks won the super bowl. I woke up the next day (Monday) earlier than normal. Why? Because I was stoked. The buzz I felt from the super bowl win had been with me all night while I slept. I had energy for three to four days after the win. I work downtown and so many people were smiling at each other, greeting each other with joy. How much more do I love the King of Kings compared to my beloved Seahawks?! It’s not even close! Jesus wins by a mile. I/We need to have that type of joy from him daily. With a feeling like that I would conquer the world, pray without doubt and believe in miracles things. Joy can take the faith of something smaller than a mustard seed and bring it to a mustard seed size. Imagine what complete joy will bring with faith greater than a mustard seed???? Goosebumps as I type. 🙂
3. Drawing closer to God brings Joy
It’s easy for you and me and other bible believing Jesus freaks to tell people, ‘have joy.’ But in reality it’s hard for a lot of people. So what’s the answer? I’m beginning to realize that if we as Christians can eliminate the noise in our life and draw closer to God we can experience joy. Not complete joy but joy…baby steps. 🙂
Complete joy will come with time, focus and confidence. Complete joy will come when we fear no consequences for our actions. Stopping at the street corner to pray for a bum’s healing without fear of letting him/her down because they might not be healed. Just walking in that buzz like faith that can only come from complete joy.
If Jesus is our end game we will train like Paul talks about to not only compete in the ‘perfect man’ race but to win it. But how some may ask. Well, they can start by giving up social media, tv, movies, and internet for a few months, year, etc. to ignite a refocus.
That’s the first step to finding joy. Next, ending the day with meditation and NOT prayer (there is a difference you know, starting the day with prayer maybe). Ending the day quiet in meditation so God can speak to us in our dreams and with our first wake will build our momentum of achieving joy. As we enter back into the ‘real’ world, back on social media, back to watching tv, movies, working on the internet where distractions loom with every turn, we will know the sound of God’s voice and will be able to hear it despite the noise. We will be able to hear it because we are familiar with God’s voice because we went cold turkey for a season from multiple distractions. A Jesus in the desert for 40 days type experience.
I firmly believe that God has never stopped talking and Christians have never stopped listening. We just can’t hear Him from all the noises in our life.
I love your call to action to look for joy. Use more personal examples in explaining ‘how’ to look for joy. Many pastors these days ask us to do many things but forget to include the how element.
Be confident in your spiritual insight as you will be a part of the 4X Generation leadership and I believe that generation will usher in the return of our King. 2003 is the start of the generation that follows the Millennials. From my readings that generation is still the unnamed generation. Unnamed? Ok, I’ll call them the 4X Generation; why not right?
As someone that is at the tail end of the Millennial generation YOU are the perfect transitional piece. Embrace it and get ready for one heck of a ride!