I was listening to a sermon and was struck as if by lightening with three little words, "Joy by Faith". It was the "by Faith" part that was new to me in relationship with joy. I must admit I got side tracked from the Pastors words for a few minutes as the Holy Spirit echoed those words in my heart for a bit.
My sister and I a few months ago were talking about "happiness" and "joy", happiness being a result of our actions while joy is a spiritual thing that lives inside us (being slow on the intake, I didn't connect with the word lives at that time). As this Pastor continued and I snapped back into reality his words became clearer and clearer to me. Joy is more like a place or thing inside of us, it was planted there by God, whether we cultivate and grow it or we allow it to diminish is strictly up to us.
I had never thought of it quite that way, to be honest I was sort of waiting for it to just kick in and begin (Yeah, Yeah, I know! "thump").
I am a rather bland personality type, most of the time humor is wasted on me I have to admit, and I have always accepted that as a personality trait rather by birth or upbringing. Maybe I have been wrong to simply accept that, maybe I don't "grow" joy, hmm! (that's what I was sitting there thinking to myself).
I've always felt like it was phony to smile when someone is ugly or I feel bad, I've always thought complete honesty was the better choice (that hasn't worked). I'm thinking now if my honesty is not a real smile of joy than, I need to change me, right!
What I heard was you have to "practice" smiling like exercising. You need to force a smile even though it's not what you feel, you can teach yourself to allow joy that will grow and radiate from you if you really work at it...a joy that God planted in us to share by example with our smiles and laughter no matter what the circumstance.
I always enjoy it when the Lord hands me something new to learn even though it means I must face the fact that I have been wrong. The JOY of learning is definitely greater than the suffering of facing the reality of my error! Thank You Lord.
Joy by faith, is accepting before something even happens, the promise that our Lord will handle everything, and will be in control, , so it's good to smile just knowing that it is in God's hands no matter what is going to come our way today. Being prepared, armored with joy as well as strength and knowledge, and not letting that 'something' get the better of us, all the small things, the grouchy people we will encounter today, the daily mishaps of this human life, the difficulties we face constantly, the very things I have been chewing on instead of just spitting them out, and maybe some of you also.
This isn't going to be easy for me, smiling I mean, I'm just such a "realist" but I'm off-and-running with it, join me in exercising our joy to infect others with, yes smiling really is infectious isn't it! Guess God planned it that way a long, long, long time ago.
Hoping and praying for that "Living" Joy by Faith in each of us to grow and grow,
Your friend in Christ,