The Pittsburgh Dave and Buster’s will never be the same. This past August the staff of a big local church swarmed the place for a day of teambuilding.
Church operations team pitted against the communications ministry in Super Shot arcade basketball. Associate pastors undercut each other in the Skee ball tourney. Worship team sang with all their might in desperation to defeat children’s ministries in the Daytona car race.
Men and women of all ages, colors and sizes laughing and hollering together in true friendship. An awesome sight to see. A rarity in this world.
What’s so different about this group of people?
Joy. Indescribable joy in their hearts, mind and spirit.
I enjoy working at this church. Not only because I work for the Lord and can freely speak about Jesus. I am part of a joyful team. Even amidst the almost daily funeral announcements, call for prayers and help for those in need encountered while at work joy is still in our hearts.
Joy means a deep emotion of pleasure and gladness according to the Oxford American Dictionary. A thing that causes delight.
Where does joy come from?
Joy is a gift from Jesus. Joy is found in the Lord. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
This joy overrides fear, pain, anxiety, sadness and depression.
The other day I was in my feelings about a certain desire of my heart that hasn’t been realized for years. I cried on and off. But I can not stay sad. Even if I tried – I hope you understand, not that I want to stay sad – I physically cannot stay sad for long.
The joy inside of me prevents sadness from making a home in my heart and spirit. Joy is a shield, a defense mechanism of the Holy Spirit. Blocking arrows of sadness, anger, depression, anxiety and worry from invading my life.
Continual feelings of anxiety, worry, sadness and depression are not of the Lord. “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NLT)
These toxic emotions aren’t meant to dwell in our hearts and minds. If Jesus says not to worry, be anxious or be fearful, its best for us to obey the words He says. Jesus knows what is best for us.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)
Remember if there is no fruit in it, it’s not from God. Fruit is sustenance, life giving, sweet, colorful, abundant. Fruit is sharable. Joy is a tasty fruit!
How do I give the gift of joy?
First you must receive joy from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. My joy comes from believing Jesus died a terrible death, filled with abhorred ugly sin, tasting a moment without God for us. Because of His amazing love. Then He rose from death, ascended into heaven to be with God to intercede for you and me! Jesus did all this with no cost to us (grace).
After Jesus, left the Holy Spirit is ready to indwell in believer’s hearts to help and equip us with many things in our spiritual journey here on earth. The Holy Spirit brings life, cleansing and light to our tarnished, decaying spirit.
One of the empowerments of the Holy Spirit is certain fruits. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) Joy becomes a part of us.
Joy makes me feel good. It’s happiness, laughter, smiles, my family, my friends, my pets, chocolate, cheesecake, cute animal videos, dancing, good music, a good cry…Joy is indescribable! Know what I mean?
My joy is contagious. I give joy because it emanates from my spirit. Joy is a part of me because I am a part of Jesus. Joy fills my heart and overflows to others.
Give the gift of joy by receiving joy from Jesus. “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11
Refill your joy with daily meditation on the Word. Prayer. Time with Jesus. Build the shield of joy in your spirit to keep those toxic emotions at bay.
Give the gift of joy this Christmas! An original gift from the first Christmas. “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,” Luke 1:14 (ESV)
How do you describe joy? I love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading. Share, follow and like this post - it will bring joy to others and me, too! Give the gift of joy to a teen girl with the WORTH MORE THAN DIAMONDS booklet.
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Christina Leeman MPH, writer and health educator, emboldens women to be the She Who Honors God with her all - body, thoughts, words, actions.
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