Walk This Way
I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. Not happiness, but joy. Often times I’ll hear people talking about the things in life that make them happy, because happiness is a good thing, right? Yeah, it is, but happiness is often determined by your situation in life or your circumstances. You can be happy one moment, but then when something in your world goes haywire that happiness can disappear in an instant.
Enter a different word altogether: JOY
Joy is not affected by our circumstances, good days, bad days, or when something that is not of our “liking” takes place. Joy is a foundational approach to life that cannot be tampered with, and for me, that joy is found in one person, Jesus. I have fond memories as a child of singing, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I don’t know why but that song has always stuck with me. After all, in a world that is full of crazy news reports every night and broken promises by those in authority over us, why wouldn’t I be joyful of the fact that my entire life rests on the foundation of a promise that will never be broken? And that is that Jesus lived, died and rose again on the third day, all so my sins could be washed away. Because of what Jesus DID, I am now blameless in God’s eyes. That means no matter what else happens in my life, I have that promise, and no one could ever take that joy away from me.
I am currently teaching this in a new sermon series called Walk This Way. I was reading Philippians the other day and was struck at how Paul could write such joyful, heartfelt words as he sat under house arrest. From the day Saul was converted (and became Paul) he had been preaching the gospel, planting churches and ruffling the feathers of the Roman officials. Paul was so vocal about what Jesus had done for him that the Roman officials threw him in jail as much as they could. Did that get Paul upset? Did he complain to Jesus and ask why more doors were not being opened for him? I would! Christians often believe if God calls you to something that everything will be smooth sailing and free of challenges. That’s simply not true! Jesus even said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Tough times happen and circumstances change. The question is, will you respond in a joyful way like Paul, or will you choose the route of a complainer and let everyone know about your hardship?
Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi was joyful and encouraging to all. You’d of thought he was writing from a beautiful chair on the beach, taking selfies with his toes in the picture, overlooking the water. But again, he was in JAIL! But when the church at Philippi sent him a gift he was overcome with joy, and he was THRILLED to receive it. Even more so, he was thrilled to hear that the church at Philippi was as bold and daring in their declaration of the gospel as ever. Paul’s joy was in the Lord, and he expressed why he had that joy in Philippians 1:6.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Simply put, every person who professes to be a believer in Christ should walk in pure joy! Why? Cause when you accepted Christ as your Savior you received EVERYTHING you would ever need. He became your foundation! There is nothing but Joy to be found in that. No need for complaining. No need for a bad attitude. You have the light. You have the hope. So BE the JOY!
There are four chapters in the book of Philippians, and it’s often referred to as the “Joy” book. Yes, a book born out of dire circumstances is called the Joy book. Let me encourage you to read Philippians this month. Let me encourage you to take in every word, pray on it and jump into the JOY pool with both feet. Philippians is a great reminder to Christians everywhere that we need to Walk This Way!