Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2
It seems that every year older I get, I am losing more and more things. Some of them are very important and I spend much time looking for them. Others just don’t really matter, and I let them reappear on their own. It happened just last month while wrapping presents. I kept losing the tape. I had just used it and was certain it had to be somewhere on the bed. After searching for a few minutes, I gave up and found another roll in the kitchen junk drawer. But it was a different story when I couldn’t find the present I was ready to wrap. I knew that I had bought it, but where was it hiding? I searched and searched, but never found it. Fully frustrated, I returned to the store and chose a totally different gift. It was weeks later that I remembered giving it away to someone else.
Occasionally I lose my joy. I can’t find it anywhere. I play happy music but it doesn’t seem to find it’s way into my gloomy self. I try to fake it hoping it will return, but it just doesn’t work. Sometimes I give up and try replacing it with some happy. But I know that happy depends on my circumstances and is very fleeting. I need joy that sticks like super glue and can’t go missing. But how do I get it and keep it?
In the book of Philippians, Paul seems to point the way by example. We find him in a four-year imprisonment rejoicing. It was not just an overnight stay waiting on bail money to arrive. He knew that his very life was at stake, and yet he writes a letter that is full of joy and rejoicing.
Paul’s secret is the same secret for us. He had encountered Jesus and been radically changed. His God story was not about adding a little more good religion to his deadbeat life, but his entire perspective of life became focused on knowing Christ and making Him known. From this kind of relationship, joy bubbles up.
This kind of joy only comes from a relationship with Jesus. It is a gift that God gives to those who belong to Him. It bypasses all circumstances and fills up a heart. It brings contentment and a new perspective that looks at everything with new eyes.
So what do I do when I have lost my Joy?
I run to the person who is Joy. I don’t mean the optimistic, giddy girl in the office, but Jesus, who is joy. Psalms 16:11 says, “In His presence is fullness of joy.” As I stare at Him and remember all that He has done, my joy returns. Thanksgiving brings joy.
It’s easy to stare at the news these days and become full of fear instead of full of joy.
Let’s shift our focus to the Lord, trusting that He is sovereign over all circumstances. That includes the entire world as well as my little world.
Here are some verses of Joy to get you started. Shall we gaze at Him together?
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
“You have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for Joy.”
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5
“Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
“Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead. Even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. “ 1 Peter 1:6
Be joyful in hope. Be patient in affliction. Be faithful in prayer.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” 1 Peter 1:8