As my family was getting ready for church one morning the following happened: The rooster started crowing at 4:45 am, our daughter woke up at 5 am (got her back to sleep), she wakes up at 6 am, while daughter is eating breakfast she poops all over her highchair, while cleaning and changing her, the wipes run out; daughter gets put in the bath, walk back into kitchen to clean the mess and low and behold the dog ate all the poo. I’m not making this up! Then a heated discussion entails because the whole scenario mentioned above was all on my husband as I was in the shower. Let me remind you this is a SUNDAY! God’s day where none of this is supposed to happen. It is supposed to be song and dance and praise the Lord! I truly believe that all the problems happened that morning because I had a short message that I had prepared for our volunteers that morning. The devil was attacking and I straight up told him—He’s not going to take my JOY! I will fight this battle and win! The funny thing is that morning prepared me for my word. I was actually talking about Joy and fighting a battle.
JOY is mentioned in the bible 182 times (NASV). It’s mentioned more than forgive (61 times), Grace (131 times), and Pray (109 times)(LINK). Those word are pretty important in the bible as well, however, JOY is mentioned more than each of those. You think maybe God is trying to tell us something? I began to research several verses and the one that spoke to me was Isaiah 9:3- “You have enlarged the nation and increased their JOY; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” This verse was a prophecy about the spread of Christianity. The gospel will bring JOY during the dark times they had; a hopeful JOY that more people were going to be added to their nation of Christ. I thought about this verse that morning; this was a battle and I was to fight for my JOY. Think about the old days were men fought with their hands and all their might and when they were victorious they were able to split up all of their plunder that they had won. Think about the JOY in that! All the hard work, the fight, the battle, the tough stuff was worth it all for the animals, clothing, gold, etc. It was their reward! I thought of this in the way Jesus would see it through this verse. We are his warriors fighting for lost souls. We fight for those to meet Jesus and to accept them into a life with Christ (Mark 16:15). We rejoice in the “plunder” because we know their salvation has won them a place in eternity in heaven. We as Christians should reflect this JOY so that others feel welcome enough to explore what brings us this JOY. I began to wonder how we can present this to people entering our church. Then I found Romans 15:32 which says: “so that I may come to you in JOY by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.” This verse is about an apostle hoping to soon visit his friends. This is how I think we should be when we are welcoming new people into our church or basically anywhere we are! Allow them to find refreshing rest and JOY in the will of God. When we are out in our community we need to show the JOY of the Lord so that people want what we have. No matter what fight we may be fighting inside our life, there is a bigger fight that is bigger than the scenario we are in. So let’s put aside the things that can take away our JOY and focus on what is bigger than us! Think of the time when we will be able to rejoice in heaven as we have fought the good fight and can celebrate the plunder!
Scripture Verse: Isaiah 9:3, Romans 15:32, Mark 16:15
Read: Isaiah 8 & 9: 1-7
Do: Are you volunteering in your local church? How can you show Christ’s JOY to others?photo cred: pexels