Have you ever had a contagious sickness spread throughout your entire family? Our faith is like that when in the life of the believer, we live out the joys that awaits us contagiously. The key characteristic that we as Christians should strive to live out is contagious joy.
The life of the believer is so often the only glimpse into the Kingdom of God that the unbeliever is going to get.
The thing that demonstrates the power of God in our lives is when we can go through the storms and trials of this world, and yet be marked by a joy that cannot be found in this world.
False Joy vs.Biblical Joy
1. False joy is rooted in the world while true joy is rooted in the Kingdom of God.
Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls. (ESV)
The picture he paints here is one of things being really bad today and not getting any better tomorrow.
Some of you have gone through a tragedy that you cannot imagine things ever getting better. When those times come, where does your joy come from?
When we look to the world for joy, not only will we be let down, but we will be left with no ground to stand on.
Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (ESV)
Our joy, when built not on the circumstances around us but on the circumstances around Jesus, can never fail because no matter how big the problems are, the shadow cast by the cross eclipses them all.
Philippians 3:20-22 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (ESV)
The waves might not stop, but the joy that marks your life during those times is a more powerful testimony to those around you than calm seas will ever be.
2. False joy is deceitful, but true joy is honest.
Joy is not saying that things are good when they are not. True joy is honest about the difficulties going on, all the while looking toward the promise of being a resident of the Kingdom of God.
3. False joy belongs to me, but true joy belongs to the Holy Spirit.
Nehemiah 8:10 “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (ESV)
That changes everything. Because now joy is not a matter of me trying really hard to put on a happy face when things are tough, but instead involves me simply going to the Holy Spirit and asking Him to give me the joy promised to me as a resident of the Kingdom.
The Holy Spirit shines brightest from you when there are dark clouds all around and you have no idea how many people are going to take a step closer to entering the Kingdom because they saw your joy in the middle of the storm.
– What keeps you from being honest with others about your situation?
– How can you show joy this week to others?
– What situations are you going through that are trying to rob you of joy?