Opening the Gift of Joy

. . . I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Last week we discovered in scripture that we are abundantly blessed and lavished in grace. In case you missed it, take a moment to revel in the wonder of Ephesians 1:3.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

God the Father has spoken every blessing available to us in Christ over each of our lives. Do you know what that means, dear one? Nobody has a greater blessing than you.

I know what you’re thinking. You see a lot of people with sizeably greater blessings. You have friends who have better jobs. Your neighbor has that great car. There’s that one family at church that always takes those amazing vacations. Your sister has those perfect kids.

You don’t feel equally blessed. Perhaps you even feel forgotten.

I’d like to suggest to you that’s precisely how the enemy wants you to feel. That’s the reason he continually shifts your gaze to worldly blessings. If he can convince you God has not blessed you, you won’t walk empowered by your blessing. Then he can keep you right where he wants you: defeated under his oppressive yoke.

I think this is a perfect opportunity to ask God to help us “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

You see, the blessings available to you in Christ are far greater than the fleeting blessings the world offers. That fabulous car can be smashed to rubble in one terrifying moment of impact. That great job can disappear tomorrow. Truth be told, so can those perfect kids.

And our emotions can spiral in a frenzied plummet from overjoyed to nearly suicidal as what we trusted for our happiness reveals its frailty. What we imagined was so sturdy and certain suddenly cracks and shatters in an instant. Our joy shatters right along with it.

Until Christ returns in perfection and restores this earth to its sinless state, nothing is certain. Nothing, that is, except Jesus.

And He offered up His life on the cross to pour out blessings in your life that are otherwise unattainable. What’s more, they can’t be taken from you. You can only lose them if you deny them or give them away.

Maybe we should take a minute to count some of those blessings.

Salvation, forgiveness, redemption, holiness, love, adoption, purpose, joy, peace, power . . . the list goes on.

Let’s settle on joy for a minute, a blessing we all long for that often remains elusive. Joy is a spiritual blessing spoken over you by God and guaranteed through Jesus. Jesus Himself spoke of His priority for joy in your life in John 15:11.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Beloved, your heavenly Father has blessed you with joy—the fullness of joy. It’s a gift of grace poured out through His Son that He desires to see manifested in your life.

Listen carefully, dear one. No one has been blessed with more joy than you. Joy is not a blessing God gives to some but not others. He didn’t skip over you with that one. His Word tells us He blessed you with every spiritual blessing. Your circumstances don’t dictate it. No matter what is happening in your life, you are meant to experience the fullness of joy.

Do you, beloved? Or do you find yourself chasing after it, hoping to attain it with various things? That relationship . . .that house . . . that degree . . . that acclaim . . .

We have allowed the enemy to convince us that we can only have joy if the circumstances in our life cooperate to provide it. We translate the blessing of God to mean we and our family members will remain healthy, and that our financial needs will not only be met for today but also all our tomorrows—in advance.

And when we don’t experience those blessings, we believe the enemy’s whispers that God has forsaken us. We feel crushed under the weight of it, and our misery creeps into every aspect of life. It hurts our relationships. It pulls us from our purpose. Our bitterness empties us.

What if you and I chose to start believing God for the blessings He’s already given? What if we stopped allowing the enemy to rob us of the joy we are equipped for and meant to experience?

How? We shift our gaze from our lack and settle it on the abundance of what we have. Our heritage as believers is to experience the miracle Paul described in our opening scripture.

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11

Can you imagine it, dear one? Being content in whatever situation you find yourself in?

Do you know what Paul is describing, beloved? Peace, another one of those great spiritual blessings only available to you in Jesus. A heart at rest whether facing abundance or need. A blessing that God has spoken over your life and is waiting for you to receive.

Don’t let the enemy convince you you’re not blessed, dear one. You are. Abundantly.

You are extravagantly loved, adopted into the family of God and coheir to the inheritance of the King of Kings. You are saved, delivered from the hand of the enemy in this life and the next. You are empowered by God Himself dwelling within your heart by His Spirit. And you are lavished in grace that provides all that you need.

Believe Him.

 

 

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