Upon investigation I have discovered that joy has been abducted. Joy was last seen on the faces of every believer who a called Christ their friend. Joy seemed to light up their worlds. Joy seemed to make these "Christ followers" stand out in a crowd. Joy would show up when the times were tough. It was joy that would get them through.
When there was a need, believers walking with joy would respond to the call with enthusiasm. When asked to explain the passion of the believer, one leader of the movement named Nehemiah responded with, "The joy of the Lord is my strength."
It appears however, that joy has been abducted. It is getting harder and harder to spot joy in the crowd. You can find followers of Christ, but they seem to be traveling without joy these days.
Even upon self-examination, one believer admitted that there was only a faint trace of the light, which joy used to bring.
There seems to be a whole community of believers missing the spring in their step. Where has joy gone, or worse who has taken joy?
Thieves of joy:
"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? . But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." Psalms 13
Solution: Choose to remember God's faithfulness in the past and celebrate it.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Ps 51:12
Solution: Choose to call for God's forgiveness quickly.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Eccl 4:9-10
Solution: Choose to invest in friends that are dependable and uplifting. True friendships are mutually beneficial. Choose healthy friendships.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Phil 4:4-8
Solution: Choose to rejoice. Focus on the right things. Remember, "This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." Ps 118:24
Lack of purpose
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10
Solution: Choose to serve a greater purpose than living for yourself. There is no joy in self-service. You were created to serve a higher purpose.
Joy is critical and it is contagious. It is the fuel for the passion we have in Christ. Find your joy and you have found your life again.
Gordon Mularski is senior pastor of Treasure Coast Community Church, which meets on Sundays at 10 a.m. in the Jensen Beach High School Performing Arts Center, located at 2875 N.W. Goldenrod Road, in Jensen Beach.
For information, visit the Web site, www.TC3.org, or call (772) 334-3999.