As I recover from knee surgery to repair a ruptured tendon, I find myself up at all hours of the night taking pain meds and icing my knee. I write this just a bit after 1:00 am from our living room hoping to let Jan get a few more hours of sleep. I need to keep my sweet nurse healthy and rested.
When I entered our living room and sat in my writing chair, I opened my Facebook account and immediately saw two short, one-minute videos. One was of a young woman speaking about the goodness of God and what it means to be made right with Him because we have been forgiven. The joy of the Lord emanated from her being as she spoke. Scrolling down just a bit farther, I came across another one-minute video of Sean Feucht’s ministry, Let Us Worship. Thousands of young men and women were worshipping and prophesying with joy over the city of San Francisco. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge was in the background. Joy was the subject the Spirit was highlighting to me in the early morning hours.
In both images, the young woman and the worshipping crowd in San Francisco were filled with an obvious expression of joy that only comes from those who by faith know they have been forgiven and made innocent in Christ. This expression of joy was so powerful it cut through the pain meds, my lack of sleep, and the reality I will be in rehab for a few months. Joy is powerful! It is so powerful the devil will do anything he can to rob us of this most vital element of our spiritual health.
We have all heard the truth many times. No matter what our sin or failure, in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven – completely and absolutely. It is too easy to become cynical and not affirm this reality by the way we live and speak. We are made cynical by yielding to the continuous input of hopelessness that fills the air of our world and by the personal attacks from the callous spirit of darkness that strategically planned these attacks against our new creation to arrive in the moments of our weakness, fear, or failure. In those moments, we can too easily succumb to joylessness. These attacks intensify when we are having a hard time believing and accepting the reality of our freedom and forgiveness in Jesus. When this happens and these attacks are not challenged as a lie, we end up pulling the plug on our faith and allow our joy to drain away.
The Lord is calling His people to express higher levels of joy that will disempower the plans of the enemy. This attitude can only be maintained when we choose to live as free people filled with joy, not prisoners bound in the chains of hopelessness.
We have a choice to make. Will we live in the joy of the Lord or allow ourselves to become cynical and pick up a hopeless attitude offered to us by a wounded and hopeless world? This is a crossroads moment for many. The dark offerings of hell have as their primary a mission to rob us of one of our greatest assets and spiritual weapons – a life of joy.
The dark challenges set before us will bow to the joy of the Lord. Closed doors will open to the presence of a joy-filled Church. Cities in decline and despair will be transformed by the carriers of joy. It is time to JOY up, Church! His joy is our strength and should be the environment of our mission.