Changed by Joy

on December 4, 2014 awareness, Discipleship and Tags: , , , , , , , , with 0 comments

Grandchildren change you! I can remember the “dirty looks” I would get from my parents and my in-laws whenever I threatened to discipline my children. It would infuriate me that they would have the audacity to interfere. But something happened. My children asked me one day after watching me with the Grands, “Dad, what happened to you?” I said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Are you the same Dad that would discipline us, and now you don’t want us to do the same to your grandchildren?” is what they were saying.

I remember hating to be around older people who always wanted to show pictures of their grandchildren, and always wanted to brag about their grandchildren. But now I am one of those. Let me show you their pics. Let me post them on Facebook. Let me tell you about what my grandchildren are doing. My good friend Steve Flockhart described it this way, “Grandchildren are intoxicating.” Why is that true? Again, Steve said, ‘It is because they give you so much JOY.” And the reality is Joy spills out. It is like a coffee cup filled to the brim. No matter how much you try, you cannot keep it from spilling out.

The Word of God says, “The Joy of the Lord, is my strength.” Joy is powerful, and so much greater than happiness. As someone said, ‘Happiness depends on happenings.” In other words, ‘If all the happenings that I happen to hope will happen, happen to happen, then I am happy.” Try saying that in a hurry. “If all the happenings that I happen to hope will happen, happen not to happen, then I am not happy.” But JOY doesn’t depend on happenings. It overflows out of a heart that is settled in peace in Jesus Christ. That is why the Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Our joy is absolutely independent of circumstances in our lives and totally dependent on a vibrant fellowship with God, through Christ.

And the result, we talk about what makes us joyful. So I always want to talk about my grandchildren, because they supply me with incredible joy. In the same way, if I am living out of joy in the Lord, I will talk about the Lord. I will overflow and spill out Jesus because He brings me joy. Or as my friend Steve says, “The reason people never talk about Jesus and never share their faith is because they do not have any joy.”

Joy overcomes our fear. Joy overcomes our excuses. Joy overcomes our reluctance. Joy overcomes our ignorance. Joy is our strength. It overflows out of our life. It spills out of our life. It cannot be contained. So if you are struggling to share your faith, then focus on your fellowship with Jesus. When the joy of that swells up, it will spill out. Joy changes you. You talk about what brings you joy. So take a look at your conversation. What do you talk about most. That is what brings you joy. When Jesus is your Joy, you will talk about Jesus.

John wrote in I John 1, “These things I write to you, that your joy may be full.” He goes on to explain Joy is absolutely dependent on fellowship with God through Jesus. We can be in a relationship, but miss out on the fellowship. Sin blocks fellowship. But when we are clean in Christ by honestly confessing our sins, and by obeying His Word, we enter into fellowship. With that fellowship we discover pure joy. With that joy, we overflow in witness. We just cannot help it.

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