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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 12/28/15

The Gift of Joy

willis-gift-joy

STORY: Joy is the Bow on Top!

Are you overwhelmed with parties, guest lists, gift wrapping, and tinsel this season? Or are you overcome with joy?

You won’t find joy gift-wrapped and under the Christmas tree, but it is a gift indeed. Without the birth of Christ that we celebrate at Christmas, there would be no authentic joy. There might be temporary bursts of happiness, controlled by surrounding circumstances, but there would not be joy.

Joy can only come from the One who guarantees salvation, because with that, there is eternal peace of mind. When Christ becomes real in our lives, we begin to pick up His mannerisms, and if Christ was anything, He was joyful. It is one of His character traits for which I’m most thankful receiving. The Holy Spirit living in me whispers joy to my heart and mind when the outside world floods my ears and eyes with negativity.

In times of crisis and conflict, joy produces a calm that cannot be explained. It allows a person to be more than just content, but actually excited about living life out loud. Joy gives its recipient an assurance that any unpleasant circumstance is only a temporary trial that can be overcome victoriously.

The Christmas carol, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” is so accurate. Joy came to the world in the form of the baby Jesus. Anything before that time was just an anticipation of the Christ Child’s appearance. We who live after His birth get the full picture—the gift of grace and mercy—rather than having to offer our own sin sacrifices like God’s people did in the Old Testament. Christ’s life and death give us the completion of God’s gift to us, His beloved. How can we not be joyful, when we consider this?

 

STUDY: Rejoice in the Joy-Child of Christmas!

The Joy of Safety in Him

“No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:9-11 NLT)

  • Why did the psalmist have a glad heart? Can you find reason to rejoice when you think of God as your protector?
  • How does considering God’s presence in your life stimulate joy?
  • What does your heart want to do when you think about living with God forever?

Great Joy

“But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’” (Luke 2:10-11 NLT)

  • When you are reassured and your fears are assuaged, what do you think? Feel?
  • What is the good news the angels delivered? How does that good news cause great joy for all people?
  • What would your life be like if Jesus had not been born?

Joy Filled to Overflowing

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:9-11 NLT)

  • When you think of Jesus’ love for you, does that affect your quantity of joy? Could that be a good reminder when you get stuck, feeling joyless?
  • What is one way to remain in His love? What does obedience have to do with love? With joy?
  • It seems counterintuitive to experience overflowing joy because of obedience. Can you explain how that might happen?

The Joy of Trust

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NLT)

  • This verse says that God is the source of hope. How might hope help you be filled with joy? Note it says you will be c____________ filled with joy.
  • Peace also arrives with joy, from the God of hope, when you t_______ in Him.
  • Look at the progression of growth here. God fills you because you trust in Him. This filling delivers joy and peace. As a result of this, a confident hope overflows from you. Who empowers this transformation?

 

STEPS: Journey towards Joy

  1. Take a Joy Break. Focus on God’s presence in your life. Read through the above Bible passages and find five reasons to rejoice.
  2. Eliminate fear. What do you fear? You might think you fear nothing, but anything that keeps you from living out your God-given potential can be a fear. Ask God to reveal and remove the fear in your life so your joy can be full.
  3. Inventory your obedience. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any act or attitude of disobedience. Any choice of rebellion against God’s laws for living interferes with your joy. Once you confess it and make it right, your joy will overflow.
  4. Take the trust test. Can you fall on Jesus for your entire source of strength and protection, or do you try to survive and succeed on your own? True joy comes when you trust in Him alone.

 

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