“We are writing these things so that our joy will be complete.” 1 John 1:4 (NLT)
Watching and listening to a slew of political ads and a Vice Presidential debate this week, it seems that it is harder to find true joy right now. There are places around the world that are torn apart, people setting off bombs that kill innocent people, and yet others losing their life for no apparent reason. There does not seem to be an abundance of joy as we look at the world around us. It would be easy to lose sight of any joy if one were to focus on the circumstances of the world. It just isn’t a pretty sight and the scenario only seems to be getting worse. Our greatest concern is for the future and what it will be like for us and those coming up behind us.
I have experienced this lack of joy in the world around me. It seems that the uncertainty of the world around us can steal the joy right away from us. As a husband and father of two teenage daughters, I am concerned about the direction of the world around us, our country, our schools, communities, and even our churches. I am certain that we have all had these thoughts at one point or another. We wonder exactly what the world is coming to and we don’t have a lot of answers. I was talking with someone just today about the presidential election and we came to the conclusion we would like another option. The options in front of us are not inspiring us to have great hope or joy.
All of this is why I am so excited we will be starting a new message series this week entitled Complete Joy. Here’s the thing I have learned over the years – Joy is not bound to your circumstances! God knows better than you or me that the world around us is in trouble in a lot of ways. We live in a fallen world and the choices that people make are not always godly choices. That is why God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the way. Luke writes that Jesus “…will be the greatest joy to many ...” (Luke 2:34) Jesus himself said, “I have told them many things while I was with them so they would be filled with my joy.” (John 17:13) Joy is not bound to your circumstances, your joy comes from the Lord. Isaiah said “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!” (Isaiah 61:10) God desires for us to be overwhelmed with the joy of Christ, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
The one thing to remember is that our Joy is in Jesus Christ. To experience the joy of Christ we need to tell people about all that Jesus Christ has done for us, see the world from Christ’s perspective, and love like Jesus. Joy is born out of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. So if the world is on fire and you have Jesus you will still have joy. This is complete joy – to be filled with the joy of Christ. Imagine if we all realized this complete joy available to us through Jesus no matter what the circumstance. How amazing would that be?
This Sunday we will begin the message series “Complete Joy.” I look forward to sharing more about this with you. I can’t wait to see you in church!