One of the most unique aspects of having faith in Jesus is the joy that it brings. Other religions might use fear, shame, or manipulation to maintain compliance, but the freedom that we have in Jesus brings joy and peace beyond understanding – regardless of our circumstances.
In today’s devotional, Phil shares a behind-the-scenes look into the writing of “House of the Lord“, and how God used the process to change his heart.
(Just joined us for the series? Start with Day 1.)
I wrote this song when I wasn’t “feeling” it. I had to come to God in faith believing that, though happiness comes and goes, joy is always accessible in Jesus no matter what the circumstance. I wrote it to remind my heart who God is, what He has done, and who I am in Him. By the time I was done writing it, my perspective had changed. No longer was I asking, “Why, God?!” with an angry fist in the air. Instead, I was asking, “What are You up to, Father?” with true excitement to see how He was going to work in the midst of a difficult time.
One of the remarkable features of the New Testament is how often the theme of joy comes up in multiple letters by multiple authors in the midst of widespread and intense persecution. This was one of the great marks on the early church! James encourages his community to “Consider it pure JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2). The Apostle Peter reminds the church he leads that, “You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:8-9).
A friend of mine recently shared a quote with me that he heard: “Happiness is based on happenings, but joy is based on Jesus.” Somewhat “Sunday school” vibes here, I know, but still so true! Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, joy is always accessible in Him. For in Jesus, there is always life, healing, resurrection, victory, grace, forgiveness, and hope. Thank you, God!
Here are a few ways we can live into joy today:
1. The Bible talks about joy, not just as a noun, but as a verb. This means we can “choose” joy. Set your eyes on Jesus, turn up some worship music, and worship with gladness.
2. Galatians 5 says that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Take a minute and pray that you would be filled with the Spirit of God.
3. Make a commitment to replace some of the things that may bring you down with ways to encounter the presence of God.
Choosing joy isn’t always the easy thing to do. In fact, we often aren’t capable of having joy on our own strength. But thankfully, we serve a great God who takes our battles on for us. If we desire joy, all we have to do is turn our lack of joy over to Him and allow Him to fill us up so that we can radiate His love and joy to those around us.
When was a time that you felt joy when it didn’t make sense? We’d love to hear how God has worked in your life!
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