I had a lesson on joy today, and I just wanted to share this one example out of the many times that my joy gets stolen, but how that can change on a dime if I take it to God, and receive from Him all the joy I desire, and let Him remind me of where my joy really comes from.
Today I found myself coming home, even after another great morning at church and a great sermon, still just kind of discontent, not very joyful, and at one point felt I wanted to kind of bite someone's head off, but didn't know why. Don't worry, I didn't bite anyone's head off. Actually, my family never had a clue this was going on in my mind. Luckily, I had a talk to God while preparing lunch so I could nip this fleshy-ness in the bud. I didn't want my long Sunday afternoon with my family to be ruined. And of course, it's always right after a good sermon that you get a little tested, isn't it?
Anyways, I really wanted to go and have a quiet talk with God during the time that I was making lunch, but that wasn't possible, so He graciously spoke to me right there where I was at, making lunch. I love that about Him. I was telling Him that I didn't feel very joyful, I didn't want to make all these sandwiches, try to entertain my kids all day, or pick up the mess that was left from rushing out the door for church that morning. I know, whine, whine, whine. And He said "Who are you wanting to please right now?". I easily said "Me...um...oh yeah...that's my problem". He said, "Yep". The flesh always wants to get fed first, cared for first, doesn't it, and it is NEVER satisfied. Nor does it want to serve others. There have been other signs of my flesh being strong this week as well. And then God said, "Remember, the only pure joy and contentment you are going to find is through Me. So for the thousandth time, abide in Me, feed the Spirit, and rebuke the flesh in the name of Jesus". And then I was reminded of JOY being an acronym for what God was telling me. This has done wonders for me in that past.
J - Jesus first
O- Others second
Y- yourself last
So I decided to start taking my thoughts captive to Jesus, praying over every thought that was stealing my joy for a few minutes and claiming the mind of Christ...and suddenly, contentment, rest, and joy took over and I truthfully have been able to be completely be joyful the rest of my day just with the joy that only my Jesus can bring. Humility, and willingness to deny your flesh, is also what this all boils down to. I pray that this daily task of of denying the flesh and feeding the Spirit will begin to be a better habit of mine. For the Word says I am a new creation. The old is gone, and the new has come. Therefore I should be acting like one.