Joy to the World #3

Sharing your joy with others

In the last two blog posts in this series, we have had the opportunity to learn about and meditate on the gift of joy that God gave to us. We have seen that joy is an attitude more than a feeling and we can experience it no matter what is going on in our lives. We have looked at how we can experience this joy to its fullest extent by walking in the Spirit, abiding in Christ, and focusing on God’s love and promises. Finally, we will wrap up our study of joy by thinking about how we can share this precious gift with everyone around us this holiday season and into the new year. If you have read all three posts and are still with me, I want to say how much I appreciate you joining me on this journey to joy!

Share your joy in your blessings.

When you are on the mountain top and things just could not get any better, share that joy with every one around you. A joyful person can lift even the darkest mood in a room. You can make a difference by using that energy to encourage others. When something great happens in your life, remember that every good gift comes from God and give him the glory as you share your good news with other people.

When things are going well, use that time as a time of rest and a time to get stronger. I did a phone interview with my friend Kim Young about the book she is writing on joy and this is what stuck with me the most about that conversation. She said that we should practice rejoicing in the Lord in the good times so that when the bad times come, it will more likely be our automatic response. When everything is going well it’s tempting to think we don’t need God. Instead we should make good use of these times to practice godly joy.

Share your joy in the everyday.

In this blog series we have talked about when things are going great and we have also talked about times of great suffering. There are also times in between when you are just living life and trying to keep your head above water. Days where you take the kids to school, make the meals, clean the house, go to work, babysit the grand kids. As Christian women we have the choice everyday to either choose joy or succumb to the temptation to be discontent, weary, or frustrated with our lives. We might be tempted to blame our lack of joy on the people around us, or our to do lists, or if the day is not going the way we planned. The truth is that nothing can steal our joy from us. Jesus told the disciples “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” He would see them after the resurrection and then He would give them the Holy Spirit to produce an abiding joy in their hearts. We have access to that joy every single day and every single day we have the opportunity to share that joy with our family, friends and co workers. We can share it with them by first choosing joy and then by letting them see our joyful responses to life’s pressures. We won’t do this perfectly every single day, it will be a struggle, but because of Christ, this can and should be our goal.

Share your joy in your suffering.

I know there are some people reading this that are going through times of great suffering. You have lost loved ones, you have chronic pain and illnesses, you struggle with depression, you struggle with important relationships, you have tough life choices ahead of you, loneliness, despair and the list goes on and on. Joy will not look the same for you as some one on a mountain top. Be assured that God’s command to rejoice does not mean you have to put on a happy face and pretend there is not an enormous amount of pain in your heart. Joy might look more like Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Your joy might look more like daily reminding yourself that God is walking in the valley right along side you to comfort you. It might look more like sharing with others through tears that you are comforted by God’s love and hope in His precious promises. Our Savior knows what it is like to suffer greatly. Hebrews 12:2 says that He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. In the time of His greatest distress, Jesus’ joy was anchored in the goodness of His Father. Even though the cross looked like a defeat, it was actually God’s good plan of salvation.

Share your joy by sharing Christ.

Finally, one of the best ways we can share joy with others is to share the Gospel. Have you ever gone through a hard time and just thought “how do people do this without the Lord?” There is so much truth to that statement because the Holy Spirit does not abide in the world. We really do have something special that no one else has. This kind of joy sets us apart and there are times when unbelievers will take notice. Look for opportunities and “ be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you…”1 Peter 3:15. Share with the unbelievers in your life their need for a Savior and how they can experience the joy that you have.

Also, share joy with your sisters in Christ. We can share joy by encouraging each other to see our circumstances in light of the Gospel. After we get saved we are not done with the good news of the Gospel. Milton Vincent author of the Gospel Primer said. ““Re-preaching the gospel and then showing how it applied to life was Paul’s choice method for ministering to believers, thereby providing a divinely inspired pattern for me to follow when ministering to myself and to other believers.” Each time we get together with our sisters in Christ, we can share the Gospel with each other, remind each other of God’s promises, encourage each other to be in the Word and pray with and for each other. Anything that points our sisters to the Gospel and to the Savior will encourage joy in their hearts.

I want to wrap up these last three blog posts on joy by saying what a privilege it has been to study this gift with you. We have had the great opportunity of meditating on the definition of joy, how to experience this joy to its fullest extent and some ways we can share this joy with others.

As you are shopping for presents this year and you see the word joy, think about the true definition and thank God for the gift of joy that He gave to you.

As you prioritize your busy schedule this holiday season and in the new year to come, think about daily abiding with Christ to experience that joy to its fullest extent.

As you spend time with your family, friends, believers and unbelievers around you show them what true abiding joy looks like through your responses.

I want to end with a quote from R.C. Sproul:

How is it possible to remain joyful all the time? Paul gives us the key: “Rejoice in the Lord always”. The key to the Christian’s joy is its source, which is the Lord. If Christ is in me and I am in Him, that relationship is not a sometimes experience. The Christian is always in the Lord and the Lord is always in the Christian, and that is always a reason for joy. Even if the Christian cannot rejoice in his circumstances, if he finds himself passing through pain, sorrow, or grief, he still can rejoice in Christ. We rejoice in the Lord, and since He never leaves us or forsakes us, we can rejoice always.

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