How are you feeling today, friends?
It’s hard to even know what to think or how to feel as we observe all that is happening in the world. To be honest, it feels like the crap keeps hitting the fan and we are powerless to stop it, let alone clean it up! I hope that doesn’t offend you, friend. I’m just saying. We are fully surrounded by the world’s negative garbage, and I’m afraid the Body of Christ is letting it affect us.
Think about Paul in prison. I don’t know if you’ve ever studied this, but the picture is vivid. As a teacher friend of mine shared yesterday, Paul was basically standing in poop, surrounded by garbage and waste, day in and day out. Oh, and writing to believers to keep their joy no matter what they were facing. Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Maybe Paul had lost his mind a little from being confined and stuck in that dark, disgusting situation for so long…. Sounds a bit familiar. And yet, I’m sure none of us can really relate to the suffering Paul endured in that season.
With this picture in mind, read Philippians 3:1: My beloved ones, don’t ever limit your joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus! I don’t mind repeating what I’ve already written you because it protects you. And 4:4: Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One!
Paul tells us to rejoice, to be cheerful, to celebrate in every season. He tells us that joy protects us. (Uh-oh, this is hitting a little close to home…!) And he tells us to let it overflow…! Sounds a little crazy given Paul’s circumstances. But, that’s the key, I think. His joy didn’t come from his circumstances; it came from his union with Jesus.
This is the secret for us, too. We can be joyful, not because of what is or isn’t happening in the world, but because we are united with the Anointed One! It’s our responsibility–really, our privilege, to let joy overflow. Isn’t this what the world needs right now? They don’t need another prophetic word on who is going to be elected or what is happening in the spiritual realm in 2020. I mean that may be interesting to speculate on, but does it really meet the needs of our neighbors who are up to their eyeballs in crap? (Ok, take a breath, Sue.)
Friends, I encourage you to find your joy today; even better, find his joy today! Spend time in his presence until you feel his joy bubbling up. Put on your favorite worship music and turn it up. Watch your favorite inspirational or funny movie. Call a friend and laugh about old times. Watch videos on social media that make you feel good or that are just plain silly. Share them with someone else and laugh together.
Joy is the key in this moment, friends. You don’t have to feel bad or defeated or depressed. You can walk in joy, even if you are surrounded by garbage. It’s ok if others think you are crazy. That makes it even more fun!