JOY CAME RUNNING INTO THE WORLD
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
I know that this is probably not the way you thought that we would end the week of JOY in our advent journey. But remember, I told you that we were going to be able to look and experience JOY from so many different angles. I want all of us to realize 5 things about JOY that I read about over the last few days. 1. Joy is NOT an emotion that can be forced, fabricated or faked. 2. Joy is not dependent upon our circumstances. 3. Joy IS POSSIBLE when we feel secure in the Lord. 4. Joy comes when we have a clear direction in our lives. And finally 5. Joy come when we live in God's presence. These are all the foundational ideas that we looked at through the journey we took this week with Joy. But as we walk into this last day, I want you to see how JOY should be unconditionally expressed through the eyes of one of God's greatest creations. I don't know if you are a pet lover or if you are a dog versus cat versus goldfish versus plant person. Today I want you to look at JOY fully expressed in the picture of the dog that I used to connect today's blog. In everything this dog is expressing we see JOY. It blows my mind when I am around our dog Charlie. I would love to be able to get into his mind and really understand what he is thinking, but the one thing I never doubt is that there is JOY in his life. A JOY that is unconditional and whenever he hears the door open, it does not matter what he is doing... he jumps to attention and runs without hesitation to connect and share JOY with anyone that he meets. His tail starts wagging uncontrollably and regardless how bad my day may have been, his unconditional love and JOY is contagious.
I say all of this because that is exactly what I hope and pray your take away is for the JOY that lives and dwells in our lives. I pray that after this week, we are able to see JOY and the ways that we are able to express JOY in such a different light. I pray that we have the same HOPE and PASSION that whenever we are able to engage with someone whether a friend or a stranger, they are able to see how excited we are to share the JOY that is in our lives. Just like Charlie, who is willing to stop whatever he is doing and run with JOY to meet us at the door. I hope and pray that we see the opportunities of sharing the JOY in our lives in the same way. I pray that we are willing to stop whatever we are doing in order to go and meet
people at the threshold of their spiritual journey and help them to step through the door. Just like Charlie, I pray that we are able to greet them with JOY and excitement and they are able to feel and experience God's grace and mercy through the encounter that we share with them. See that is what it is all about. Finding JOY and then giving it away. Finding the peace that God has surrounded us with and then passing it on to others who are still living in times of craziness. God did not have to beg Jesus to come into the world. I fully believe that Jesus was just sitting in anticipation for the moment God was ready to release Him into the world. I think that Jesus sprinted... I don't think that He walked, but He sprinted into the world because of His great love for us. And just like it says in Revelation, Jesus stands at the door and continues to knock in anticipation of when WE will open the door and invite Him in. Jesus stopped EVERYTHING that He was doing and came to the world to complete the journey of JOY that was set before us.
So today I went to the Book of Hebrews to find our understanding of JOY. I think that God is definitely telling us that we are all in this race together and after reading Hebrews 11 and seeing all of those that completed their journey of JOY, we have to understand that we are now the ones who have to carry the baton to bridge the gap for the next leg to be completed. We have to be willing to battle through and throw off all of the shackles that are hindering us and break free of the world's grip and run with JOY. We have to run with purpose and help others to hear about the real Gospel of Christ that is meant for every person in the world. We are called to step into the muck and the darkness that others are living in and provide a ray of LIGHT that will help lead them to overcoming addictions in their lives. We are called to run with JOY into situations that we may not have all the answers, but we step in knowing that God is not going to leave us without showing us how to find freedom. I believe that we are to run with JOY to our families and mend relationships and share love because we have been called by God to be a household that serves God and we cannot do that if our house is divided. A house divided will not find JOY but will fall in on itself. I believe that we are to run out into the world with JOY in our testimonies so others can realize that they are not alone and that we are not perfect. They others can see that we ALL have fallen short in this world, but we serve a PERFECT GOD. And our GOD can overcome our failures.
The JOY that we see in the Hebrews scripture for today helps us to recognize that the decisions begins with us. We have to step out of our control and step out in faith to where God is in control. That is why the world is still in such chaos because it has ALWAYS been a control issue. God's JOY cannot be complete in us until we surrender our lives to Him fully in ALL things. Our calling is to fix our eyes on Jesus sand just start running out into the world and expressing JOY to everyone that we encounter. Our passion should be to meet everyone where they are and walk with them as they fight to break free from the world and find freedom in Christ. I know that is going to be a complete life change for most people, but I think it is time that we got back to the simplicity of our calling. JOY has come into the world and the world could not understand it or receive it because the world has been lost in
darkness for way too long. It took 700 years for Isaiah's words that he professed to come true so that means for 700 years the people knew that Jesus was coming. It was 400 years from the last words that God spoke in the Old Testament to the New Testament when LIGHT came into the world as a fulfillment of God's promise from Genesis 3. And Jesus said that HE would return and take us home and I just wish that we understood that means we have been called to run. With the attitude of a child we have been called to run and share JOY TO THE WORLD. As we continue to move closer to Christmas, I hope and pray that we have such a compassion for others to experience the gift of Jesus that we will stop what we are doing and RUN as fast as we can to share the message of JOY that continues to shake the foundations of the world. JOY has come... now GO.... RUN... and share this JOY that was set before us.