On Sunday, Pastor Jeremy Johnson continued our series, “Sex, Drugs, Money, More” by sharing
with us another tip he wished he had learned before marriage and that is to create a habit of
joy. Regardless of what our natural bend may be and whether it is negative or positive, God
commands us to have joy. Joy is what gets us through any and every trial.
Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us that joy is what gave Jesus the ability to endure the cross. Beginning in
verse one, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw
off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with
perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of
faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so
that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We are to throw off not just the sin in our lives, but the things that hinder us. Those thoughts of
the past or the stress we feel on a regular basis from our boss. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus
and allow ourselves to be filled with joy in the midst of circumstances that could otherwise
cause us to waiver and land in negativity. Negativity is not about what you are going through.
It’s about what your eyes are focused on when you’re going through it. Joy is a command, not a
choice. Paul says in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Not
only does he say it once, but he says it twice. He knew we wouldn’t get it the first time. With
other commands, He did not repeat himself. He knew that if we could just digest this concept,
we could get through anything! The Bible also says that the joy of the Lord is our strength! If we
ignore this command because it is not our natural bend or use our personality type as an excuse
not to be transformed by joy, we will forfeit what we need to prosper in life. Paul was in prison
when he wrote this command. He was strengthened by joy in a place where joy is normally
nowhere to be found.
Throughout our lives, we have developed habits that hinder us from who God has called us to
be. Even Paul said that he did things he didn’t want to do. When a habit is developed, it is no
longer a choice we are making. It is something that we just do. A habit is a rut that has been
worn into the path repeatedly to the point where you actually lose the ability to make a choice.
The rut determines the direction we go. Many of us think we can choose our way out of the rut.
However, once we hit the rut, we continue to make the same choices that have already
developed into a habit. We need to ask God to transform our thinking.
Instead of complaining about how your boss is treating you, bless your boss. Thank God for
your boss and for His plans for them too. Stop complaining about your financial situation and
praise God that you have what you have. Praise God for the clothes on your back. Praise God
for the dinner you had last night, even if it was off the dollar menu at McDonalds! It may feel
awkward at first, but this is what it means to rejoice in the Lord always.
Do you know the part in the movie where it reaches its climax? Where you are sitting there in
disbelief about what just happened? Matthew 25:31 gives us a glimpse of what is to come that
is going to blow our minds, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with
him, he will sit on his glorious throne.” That is the end game. Jesus coming back in His glory and
taking back His Kingdom. Imagine what it will be like to experience His glory in its fullness! His
presence overwhelms us now. Just think of how overwhelming and amazing the fullness of it
will be! John describes his experience of heaven in Revelation 5:11, “Then I looked and heard
the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten
thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.” Can you imagine
that? Thousands upon thousands of people surrounding His throne praising His name. Picture
these two experiences in your mind and then think about what you have been worried about. It
doesn’t even compare, does it?
Allow God’s joy to transform you so much that your worries seem small. Fix your eyes on Him
and allow your former habits of negativity and worry fade away. First Chronicles 16:27 tells us
that joy is God’s dwelling place! Make it your dwelling place as well. It may seem foreign to you
right now, but living from a place of joy instead of a place of happiness, which is circumstantial
will change everything! Explore the word and see what God’s joy looks like. Look up the word
joy in the back of your Bible and see how many times it is mentioned and what is possible
through joy! Psalm 30:11 says, “Joy is actually clothing!” Psalm 45:7 says, “God wants to anoint
you with joy!” Psalm 47:5 says, “God has ascended on shouts of joy! Joy is the runway for God
to land on in your life.” Isaiah 35:10 says, “Joy is like a crown He wants to put on our heads.”
Luke 2:10 describes Jesus as “great joy.” Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with
all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the
Holy Spirit.” Receive these promises of joy today and allow yourself to overflow with hope by
trusting and rejoicing in Him always!