Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bring Back the Joy

by Andrew Cromwell

I am constantly reminded of how unnatural Jesus’ words sound when I compare them to my life.  In the book of John, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you.”  When I read that statement and look at my life, the reality is that I often do not feel joyful.  Anxious, fearful, frustrated, impatient, fatigued — these are the feelings that seem most natural to me. 

So how do we experience His joy in our lives? 

I believe the key to living joyfully, is to stay connected to Jesus.  If He is the source of joy, then it would make sense that we need to stay plugged into the source!  Just as we don’t expect a lamp to give any light unless it is plugged into an outlet carrying electric current, we shouldn’t expect joy to bubble up in our lives unless we are connected to Him.

One of the reasons we don’t stay connected to Jesus is because we don’t trust Him.  Either we don’t believe that He could really forgive us for all we’ve done or we’re afraid that He is going to ask us to do something that we don’t want to do!  Either way, we keep ourselves from giving ourselves fully to Him and we unplug.  We must remind ourselves of is that Jesus is all about lavishing His love upon us!  He looks for ways to have a relationship with us and to express His love to us.  His plan for our life is more wonderful then anything we could ever even imagine. 

Another reason we don’t stay connected to Him is that we don’t know how.  We tend to overcomplicate things.  The best way to stay connected with Jesus is to read His Word, talk to Him and get around people that are doing the same thing.  If we do these things regularly and with a heart that desires to know Him, then it’s hard to miss.

Now, it is important to know that you can stay connected to Jesus, but still not experience joy.  This is because joy is not a feeling, it is a choice. We have all seen people choose to be angry.  You know how it goes.  Something happens that is negative and that person decides to focus on it.  They think about it, they talk about it, they brood on it.  Soon they are consumed with anger.  They decided to be angry. 

In the same way, you must decide to be joyful.  You do this by putting your mind in the right place.  You refuse to take up offenses.  You recall who God is and His wonderful plan for you.  You put a smile on your face.  Before you know it, you are filled with joy.

The pastors of Kings County would love to help you live joyfully.  Why don’t you visit one of the many wonderful churches available in our community this week?  It’ll help fill you with joy.     

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