This year I have been taking part in ‘One Word 365’, the idea being that you ditch New Years Resolutions (which I’m all in favour of anyway, if you want to make change, do it whenever, don’t wait for the new year) and just choose one word for your year to focus on. This year I chose ‘JOY’.
Why joy? indeed, good question. There were lots of words that might have been more original, or more meaningful, less vague, perhaps more in line with what this year held in store for me. But the thing that I really don’t like about myself (well one of them…) is that when I’m tired or a bit under par or just busy, I get grumpy. And not just that I’m grumpy, but grumpy and cross with people around me, the people I love, usually my family. I hate that the joy I have from Jesus gets robbed away from me at those times. And of course I’m not ignoring the reason why this happens, but some things just won’t change and realistically I will get tired and busy sometimes, so my aim is to not lose the joy I have but to loose it!
God’s word tells us in James 1:2-3 to consider it joy when we face trials, not that my trials are particularly big, but when I read of those who are persecuted and attacked and yet are still so obviously filled with the joy of the Lord, it gives me huge encouragement and perhaps a little shame that I am bogged down in the tiny detail.
In Nehemiah 8:10 the prophet tells the people ‘…for the joy of the Lord is your strength’. Yes! it is, I just need to continually remind myself of this. Joy is also one of the fruit of the spirit Paul talks of in his letter to the Galatians, 5:22; and finally one of my fave passages, Hebrews 12:1-3 – if you haven’t then do read The Message version, it really brings it alive, I love the line ‘that will shoot adrenaline into your souls!’ But for now in the NRSV version:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
Be inspired by Jesus and all that He did! He was filled with joy even knowing what he had to face. So JOY has been and is continuing to be an ongoing theme this year as I endeavour to be focussed on the joy of the Lord.