Created for joy
Are you ready to experience joy in the new year ahead? The truth is, God created us to be filled with joy. He doesn’t want us to be unhappy, depressed or sad. He wants us to rejoice in life! In fact, joy is a command in the Bible. Paul writes: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Joy is not an option; it is an expectation! Jesus lived a joy-filled life and He taught about how we too can be filled with joy. There is a being who roams this earth seeking to steal your joy, but it is not God. Jesus made that clear when he taught: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10.
Christ came to offer us an abundant, full life; to make us right with a holy and perfect God; to offer us joy! That is why the angel of the Lord at Jesus’ birth announced that he had good news that would bring great joy! Jesus offers all who believe joy!
We can rejoice because of what God has done….21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things! Joel 2:21
We can rejoice because of what God will do… 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven… Matthew 5:12a
We can rejoice because of what God is doing… 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! Revelation 19:7
We can spend life in one of two mindsets, living or waiting to live. Are you living or waiting to live? When we are waiting to live, we miss the precious moments God gives us every day.
Find joy in every day that God gives you! 24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24. Rejoice in this day, in this moment! Find joy in seemingly insignificant moments… reading to your children at bedtime, kicking the soccer ball in the back yard, building lego villages… Those are cherished memories for me… I would love to get them back now. I wish I had appreciated them more back then; but there are new joys ahead!
Slow down and enjoy a cup of coffee with your spouse every day; talk to each other. Spend more time laughing together. Cherish time with friends in the same way Jesus did. He found time to invest in them, love them and celebrate with them. Attend a life group where you can share joys. Worshipping regularly is an act of joy! Prayer can be an act of joy. Cherish every day and every moment God gives you to rejoice and be glad in it!
Joy is a necessity in life! Nehemiah shared this with his grieving congregation:
9 …“This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.”… 10 …Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10. Joy offers us strength in life, including the strength to overcome sin. Think about it, when we are not filled with joy, we become weak and vulnerable to sin. Unhappy people make poor, sinful choices. In those critical moments, we need strength and strength comes from joy!
Most of us enjoy the days we spend with friends and family, but we tend to struggle to find joy n the days we are working, which is not good because some of our very best hours are spent working! Take a look at the example God set for us in the creation story. God found joy in His work days and He wants us to find joy in our work days too! Daily, God rejoiced in his “good” work. At the end of the week, He saw the work He had done was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31). What about you? Will you find joy in your work? Will you use your valuable time in a productive way to do good work and take great joy in it?
Joy is the product of obedience to God. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11. Jesus maintained that His joy was the product of His obedience to the Father; He modeled for us perfect obedience to the Father. None of us is perfect, but when you and I are obedient to God’s commandments and the instructions in His Word, we follow Christ’s example and we will experience full, complete joy!
The truth is that one of the primary reasons we find ourselves experiencing despair and sadness is because of our own disobedience. When we go our own way, turn away from God, seek our own selfish desires, we will suffer. When we do life God’s way, follow His commands, obey His Word, life works and joy follows! I see this truth in life again and again, and I’m sure you do too.
Will you commit to obey Him in 2021? Together, we are going to develop the disciplines to do that during this series… learning more about the best practices His Word gives us, including the practices of praying, studying His Word, and listening to the Holy Spirit!
Steps to Rejoicing
Start living right now! Don’t wait to live…seek the joy God offers you. Commit to Christ as Savior and Lord of your life if you have not yet done that!
Celebrate every day! Every day is a gift from God, including “work” days. Don’t live for the weekend… Live today! Celebrate your “good” work! Look for moments to rejoice daily! If you are looking, you will find them.
Set aside a day each week to do the what you enjoy… eat good food, read good books, play your favorite games, spend time with the people you love!
Fill your life with others who know the joy of the Lord! Life is too short to surround yourself with bitter or hateful people. Watermark is full of joy-filled people! Attend a life group, live or online. Make weekly corporate worship a priority. Worshipping with others is inspiring and uplifting!
If you missed it, click here to watch this message… Best Practices Part 1 - The Practice of Rejoicing! We have had lots of encouraging feedback on this service… It is definitely worth a listen!