Today begins Encouraging Word Wednesdays. I recently threw it out on the Facebook universe to all my friends to give me an encouraging word that began with the first letter of their first name. I learned several things, the most obvious one: I have a lot of friends whose names begin with the letter J.
Today we begin with JOY!
Several years ago, I was working on a Spiritual Gifts Inventory, and I was challenged to ask others what they perceived my gifts to be. One very wise friend, shared that while it doesn’t typically appear as a traditional gift, she believed I have the gift of joy. To my surprise, others confirmed her assessment.
I found this quite humbling…and challenging.
I believe I am wired to find the positive in situations and people. Because of this I have been labeled naive and a Pollyanna. To my consistent surprise, my ability to find the best causes frustration and consternation in many who can’t. My husband often questions why I always go “there.” I can’t not.
Lately, I’ve been looking up the meanings of words before I use them. I want to be sure I’m using them correctly. So, I looked up joy, and then I looked up rejoice. They define one another.
In the Bible Dictionary I found this: “Believers rejoice (are full of joy) because God has surrounded them with his steadfast love (see Psalm 32:10-11).”
James, quoted in the meme above, paints a beautiful and challenging picture of joy. “Count it all joy” can be better understood as the choice to accept everything that comes our way as an opportunity for growth and good. And “ALL” of it is reason for joy—to rejoice—because wherever we find ourselves we also find the steadfast, never-ending, never-failing love of God.
Find JOY today.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy Colossians 1:11
Patience with joy.
Happy to wait.
Seems contradictory. Contra-indicated.
But it is his gift…his enablement. And our choice.
PRAYER: God, you give us all good gifts. As we wait on you, for you, and with you, help us to consider what we have, where we are, and what will come…all things with an attitude and action of pure joy. Amen.
I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m not going to wish you a “happy” New Year. But that’s because I want so much for you.
No, I think I will wish you a Joyous! New Year.
Hair splitting? Perhaps. But I think happiness is an emotion that is determined by the situation or circumstances. While joy is an outlook or perspective that prevails despite the ups and downs of circumstances.
I am basing this line of thinking on James instruction:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4, NIV)
Reading this, I wonder if James is referring back to Jesus’ word and giving us a better picture of what Jesus meant: 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
And just what was Jesus’ joy? It was his absolute surrender to the will of the Father: “. . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Hebrews 12:2). “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8).
There is nothing easy about joy. But without it life lacks so much…and it would appear to be incomplete.
So in wishing you a joyous New Year, I am hoping you will have the ability to face the things life holds for you and see God at work and rest in the promise that you will have everything that you need.
Let there be joy!