Message Summary: Today’s message focuses on Joy: When we live a life dependent upon God’s Spirit, He fills us with unspeakable joy.
Joy is not something you discover; it is something you develop. You can’t discover joy, you foster it. The “joy” of circumstances fade. Anyone can learn how to develop joy and we can all learn to be joyful despite our circumstances.
God really wants us to have joy. He wants us to wake up with a genuine sense of contentment every day and overflow with joy. Some people think, or have been taught, that being a Christian is synonymous with being miserable, but God’s love and goodness towards us shows exactly the opposite. Difficult and terrible things happen in all our lives, but God’s plan is for us to be in His presence. God wants us to experience joy and He takes pleasure in giving us joy.
We often misunderstand what joy is so then we miss the joy before us. Joy is not an involuntary response to something good, but a voluntary response to the goodness of God. We choose to see the goodness of God. The Greek word for “joy” is the same word used in scripture when the Bible talks about Paul having “joy” in prison; James having “joy” in trials; and Christ having “joy” on the cross. The word means: a peaceful delight you experience when you focus on the goodness of God.
Joy is only found when we focus on what is good. We need to fix our focus on things that bring joy before it becomes a feeling which means we need to learn to develop our focus. We can have joy in the darkest seasons because God is always doing something good in our lives, even during difficult times, and no one can steal our joy. Our joy has nothing to do with what is around us, but everything to do with the goodness of God.
We find the goodness of God in every day small moments, not only in church related activities but in the beauty of nature, music, food, relationships, laughter, etc. We can choose to see the reminders of God’s goodness every day. The only difference between joy and misery is where we choose to shine our light.
Small shifts in our focus on God’s goodness can make a big difference over time. The wise men received joy not from the star itself, but from knowing that it was pointing to Immanuel…God with us. They recognized where the star was pointing.
- Does joy come naturally for you? If not, what are the primary obstacles for you?
- Can you think of a recent time where you reflected on God’s goodness in an ordinary moment?
- Do non-believers around you see God’s joy in your life? How can you shine your light for Him in a world where others don’t know Him?
- Where do you have the opportunity to intentionally focus on God’s goodness daily?
- In times of difficulties and challenge, have you experienced joy when seeking His goodness? How did you shift your focus to develop a joyful mindset?
Galatians 5:22-23– But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
James 1:2 – Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials…
Matthew 2:10 – When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.