As we go through our day to day lives there are ups and there are downs, but as a Christian there are things that remain constant. Whether we feel like it or not - I joy, and ye joy too. This description of who we are in Christ Jesus jumped out at me recently. I just kept saying those words out loud and smiling. I began to understand that, even as "A Work in Progress", we do not only have joy, but we are joy.
This concept of being joy may come easy if Joy is your given name, but even if it is not, in Christ this is one of our nicknames. Not too long ago God gave me the revelation to replace the word "I" with the word "love" in 1 Cor. chapter 13. As I began speaking this I noticed that mustering up patience, kindness, meekness, and so on was not a strain. By doing this I noticed that walking in love came with less effort. I began to grasp onto the fact that if God sees me as love then He must see me as joy too.
"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all,"
(Phil. 2:17 KJV)
Now you might be saying to yourself that this tense is merely describing that Paul is joyful and not that he is literally joy. But I believe that God, the Master Author, can combine figurative and literal tenses together to describe us, which is always in reference to Him. What I mean is that without God we are nothing, but with God we are who He is, because He lives in us and through us.
Being joy maybe a little daunting and that is probably why most of us, myself included, have chosen at some point to not see ourselves as this very word. The great part is that if referring to ourselves as joy feels pretentious, it should not, because we are not the only joy out there. Paul writes in verse 18:
"For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me,"
Therefore if I joy, then ye joy too!
So why is it that so many Christians walk around looking like the joy has been sucked right out of them? Joy has not been sucked out of them. The joy of the Lord is planted, never to be removed, when a person makes Jesus their Lord. So, as a Christian the joy will always be there, but if we do not use it this joy can become buried under stuff. Stuff like; guilt, condemnation, and fear can smother the joy God has so generously given to us.
So the real question is how to release the joy within? I do not have all the answers, but God has shown me one clear direction on how to dust off our inner joy. When we are believing, an action, which means that we are by choice believing in God, His Word, His promises, that He is love and that He fills us with all He is - this is when we release the joy that He placed on the inside of us. By speaking the Word of God we begin to believe and remember that His joy lives in us. We can see joy, but by believing it is there that faith gives power to an amazing force that lives on the inside of us. As that power is released our outward actions begin to catch-up with our inward design.
“Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,"
(Pet. 1:8 KJV).
When we rejoice in faith the joy inside of us is so mighty that we can not even describe it in words. God knew that alone we would fail at choosing joy as a lifestyle, so He sent His Holy Spirit to help us…
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,"
(Rom. 15:13 KJV).
Therefore, when we say "I Joy", we are also giving credit to our Heavenly Father who gave us this precious gift. All year round each and everyday we should rejoice, "Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her king," and with that we should then receive all of Him. We then can encourage ourselves and others as we continue to progress through His Master's plan, by confidently saying, I joy, ye joy too!
Dedicated to my pastor, staff, and members of Joy Church of Mt Juliet, TN - the most joyful people I know!!!