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Joy to the World

By Pastor Tony  

This past Sunday, my message was about joy. I spent some time making the distinction between joy and happiness.

I quoted C. S. Lewis. I think he came really close to explaining the Biblical meaning of joy when he called it the  unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” That statement is a little obscure at least on the surface. However, he went on further to say joy “must be sharply distinguished both from happiness and from pleasure.” He had experienced real joy and knew that it isn’t based on external or circumstantial happenings but on Christ in our lives. No matter what is happening in our life…good or bad with Christ we can have joy. My prayer is that we all experience that kind of joy.

So I wanted to share some insight to help you walk out this thing called joy in your own life. Three simple ways you can tackle the things that threaten joy in your life; specifically joy in your relationships. By the way, if you have any of these problems you are a killjoy. Seriously. What you’ll find is most people won’t really like to be around you very much. That’s because you not only kill your joy, you kill their joy. The first joy-killer is Selfishness. In James 4:1,2 in the Good News Bible it reads…

Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires… which are constantly fighting within your bodies…you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight.” 

Selfishness is so destructive to relationships. Many marriages, friendships and partnerships have fallen prey to selfishness. James goes on to to explain the damage caused by selfishness. In chapter three verse sixteen in the Living Bible, He says…

Wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition, there will be disorder and every other kind of evil.

Let me help you. This isn’t a picture of joy in anybody’s life. In the second chapter of Philippians, The Apostle Paul gives us some of the attributes of Christ. Scholars tell us that it is one of the richest passages in the entire New Testament. It was actually an early Christian hymn. In these verses we find a succinct and memorable recitation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. And it is cool to think that somewhere, in a time long long ago, there were early Christians singing these words. You can’t read this powerful text without seeing the selflessness of Jesus. So pray for God to help you be more Christlike and to change your focus. Remember you need to walk this out.  So Focus on giving rather than receiving. There is a greater blessing on giving than there is on receiving. The Apostle Peter said…

Learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly. This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply.  2 Peter 1:7 LB

The second one is Resentment. Resentment is a bitter kind of anger that comes from feeling as though you have been treated unfairly. To be quite honest, all of us at sometime in our life will have the opportunity to be filled with resentment. Life is just that way…sometime, somewhere, somebody will do you wrong. There is even a country music song titled “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.” That’s a funny way of dealing with something that is so detrimental to healthy relationships and real joy in our lives. The writer of Hebrews warns us to…

Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their Spiritual lives.  Hebrews 12:15 LB

Resentment will ruin just about any relationship. It is the proverbial beam in our eye. We all know that hurting people hurt people. Proverbs chapter eleven says…

The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.  Proverbs 11:29 LB

So rid yourself of resentment today. Seriously, let it go. Allow God to take it. It will bring freedom to your life. You will experience joy. Then take your next step and Focus on healing rather than hurting. 

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others.  Colossians 3:13 LB

Fear is the third and last joy-killer. Unfortunately, it’s last but not least. In Proverbs, Solomon warns us about anxiety and fear. He says…

Worry weighs us down.  Proverbs 12:25 The Message

Listen, fear in our lives changes our lens and therefore impacts the way we encounter others. Fear does three things to a relationship. 

Fear makes us defensive as we are worried about what others might do to us. We become distant because of our inward fear of vulnerability and put up walls around ourselves. We find ourselves demanding because we’re afraid and we must always be in control. Realize this; God hasn’t given you the spirit of fear but power, love and a sound mind. Allow God’s power to work in your life today. Pray first asking for God’s power and for The Holy Spirit to empower you. Then take your next step and Focus on God’s power rather than your problems.

Trust in God at all times; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.  Psalm 62:8 LB

The secret to relationships is perspective. His power is greater than your problems.  Shift your focus to Him. Choose this Christmas season to experience a new perspective and focus. It’s a “Joy to the World” season. Take your next step and let joy into your world, so you can proclaim joy to the world.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said The world has never seen anyone who knew joy as our Lord knew it, and yet He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Allow your life to be filled with joy like Jesus.  No matter what, joy can be yours.