- you decided that no person could rob you of joy, not an overbearing employer, not an irritable spouse, not a stubborn relative?
- you decided that no situation could take away your joy, not a car breaking down, not a cough that hangs around, not a turn in your finances?
What if you had joy, regardless!? On the eve of the crucifixion, Jesus prayed that His disciples would have His joy in them (John 15:11). Here’s the good news: we have the mind of Christ.
Here is His mind regarding joy:
- We serve people. Jesus could have said, “Tonight I need to be served.” He chose instead to wash feet. (John 13:3). Joy is the response of a servant. A selfish person announces to the world, “Here is what I need to be happy. Do your part.”
As a pastor I cannot afford to abandon joy and get discouraged, because I will miss opportunities to serve. Sadly—I have.
We might think that joyful people are that way because God has given them a personality or has favored them. Not the case. It is because they have favored God.
- We don’t allow the misery of others to determine ours. Miserable people say dumb things, and if you work for one, he may say or do things that threaten your peace. Will you give him permission to make you mad?
Grouchy spouses do you a favor; they give you the chance to experience the highest goal of heaven—Christlikeness. Don’t abandon joy!
- We do not let bad experiences take away our joy. We upgrade our confidence in God’s sovereignty. We know that He can turn bad into good, He is going to do it in this situation. Jesus told His disciples in advance that one was going to betray Him and that Peter was going to deny Him. Not the circumstances that make for a pleasant dinner.
We can say stupid things when trials come our way, like, “This is a bad time for a flat tire.” (And when is a good time?). I told the Lord the last time I had car trouble, “Just so you know, this is a good time for car problems.” That way we don’t need to live circumstantially, as if joy is determined by everything going right. Have you noticed—it doesn’t?! Jesus could have said, “This is not a good time for a betrayal.”
- We overcome grumbling with gratitude. What is more likely to happen—your boss developing a wonderful disposition or you learning to respond to a cranky disposition? Quit your grumbling and start living above the circumstances. Gratitude releases the storehouses of heaven.
I started with “what if.” Well—“what if not.” What if I let the neighbor or the spouse get to me? What if I inwardly boil at the overbearing boss or lose it because the car breaks down? Then I am living circumstantially.
Jesus said one more thing about joy in the Upper Room. Wrong expectations tamper with joy. He said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” Simple question: Am I still in the world? If so, abandon the smooth ride concept. Won’t happen. You can, however, camp on the second part of the verse: “But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Cheer does nor vanish with trouble; it vanishes with an unrealistic outlook. And we ride the emotional roller coaster up and down according to how people and situations treat us. Have a good day!
The good news is that the Holy Spirit is the producer of joy, not you or me, and He can put it in you whether your week goes well or not. We need to develop an indifference to bad days. Or as my friend George, now in heaven, used to say to me, “Until further notice, celebrate everything!”