All of our lives are a journey … a journey from somewhere to somewhere.
Perhaps your life has been a journey away from abuse toward emotional and physical health.
Maybe your life’s journey has encompassed education, travel, and scintillating relationships.
Did you start life as a victim in a dysfunctional family and now you are proud to say that you have built a victorious family of function and faith?
My life’s journey has often lingered in the land of depression but I can confidently say, now, that joy is my home address!
In the fifth grade, my beloved teacher, Miss Sullivan, taught her curious class of eleven-year-olds, that in defining a certain word, one should never use the word itself in the definition. The rule Miss Sullivan taught all of her eager learners is an accepted grammatical rule that most savvy writers and wordsmiths follow implicitly.
However, I have discovered, it is nearly impossible to define the word “joy” without using the word itself in the definition.
The Hebrew definition of the word simchah is: “joy, mirth, gladness; the joy of God.”
The Greek definition of the word chara, is: “joy, gladness; the cause of occasion of one’s joy.”
Due to my frustration at being a grammar elitist and knowing that substance is lacking by using a word in its own definition, I decided to dig deeper and valiantly endeavor to find the root definition of the word “joy”.
“Joy wrought by the Holy Spirit” was a definition that resonated a bit stronger in my frustrated soul because at least it gave some credit to the Holy Spirit.
And then, at last, I came upon this definition from a Hebrew dictionary I found among my father’s archaic library: “the blessedness that the Lord enjoys.”
Although this definition uses a derivative of joy in the word “enjoys”, I found myself completely agreeing with this ancient meaning found among stacks of dusty, dog-eared books.
Joy is the atmosphere of Heaven. It is the air God the Father himself breathes in every day of eternity. And because joy is Heaven’s delivered gift to me while I walk on planet Earth, it is my delight and strength to experience the blessedness that God on His throne enjoys.
Wow … put that in your heart and marinate in it!
Joy is God’s gift to us as we snuggle into His presence and hunker down into all that He is and all that He gives.
You Are Cordially Invited …
Have you ever been invited to dinner at a dear friend or family member’s home and then been forced to sit and watch hours of family, vacation and holiday videos? Well … consider yourself invited over to dinner at my life because I, too, am going to force you to view my journey to joy!
Last week, we lingered over scenic view #1 in this verse, You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11
Today … welcome to scenic view # 2!
“Do not be grieved [or depressed] for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
You have an enemy who desires that you would live in a constant state of debilitating, relentless depression and discouragement. This enemy is unable to change the fact that you are Heaven-bound and have been guaranteed eternal life. He can do absolutely nothing about your entrance into Heaven’s gates. Since he can’t touch eternal life, what he attempts to do is to ruin abundant life. Don’t let him do it!
You have a God who wants to inject you with His joy because it is God’s miraculous, perpetual joy that will deliver strength to your life this side of heaven’s glory.
The devil does not want you strong. This diabolical laughing stock of a shadow of absolute nothingness wants you to be the weakest version of yourself possible and so he goes about it in one singular way: the devil attempts to steal your joy.
The devil is not after your marriage, your health, your finances, your children, or your relationships. What He is after is your joy and the way that he tries to access your joy is through your marriage, your health, your finances, your children, and your relationships.
Do not let the devil have your joy that Jesus died for! Stand toe to toe … nose to nose … with the accuser of the brethren and have a stare down. Hang onto your joy and declare in his face,
“Devil, you weak, whining, immature caricature of all that is not holy, you will never … not ever … not in a million Sundays … or in a thousand eternities have my joy. One of us is going down and it ain’t gonna be me!”
If you release any of your joy to the enemy it will turn you into a weak, whining, and ineffective Christian because the joy of the Lord is your strength. Other than your salvation, I believe that your joy is the most valuable commodity you have been given while walking the surface of planet earth and sucking in oxygen.
The powerful gift of joy is able to give you indomitable strength during your days of pain and trauma. If there is anything the devil hates more than a Christian … it is a joyful Christian.
Hang onto your joy. Don’t ever let go of your joy because joy is what will give you the strength to fight and to carry on every day of your life!