Lately, Our Care Group began a study of the book Laugh Again by Charles Swindoll. It is a study of the book of Philippians. We studied Lessons from San Quentin last year in Care Group (we have a thing for prison - Paul is writing from a prison/house arrest setting). The book is about joy. The kind we sing with children when we ask them “Where?” and they say, “Down in my heart!” Then we all sing together, “And I’m so happy, so VERY happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart. And I’m so happy, so VERY happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart.” (I just started singing verse 2 “And if the devil doesn’t like it…)
Between the Laugh Again book and another one I recently read called War of Words, I got a double whammy in the heart! Philippians really addresses the fruit of joy and War addresses the heart – the residence of the fruit…which by the way, my heart is always revealed every time I speak!
Habakkuk 3:17-19 is where the rubber meets the road place of joy -
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL BE JOYFUL IN GOD MY SAVIOR. THE SOVERIGN LORD IS MY STRENGTH.”
I have paraphrased those “thoughs” for my life and you will be glad to know, I am keeping them to myself! I believe we all have a list of “thoughs” that can cause us to lose joy or at least misplace it.
Paul truly lived joy in this life. This life is full of “But you don’t understand” and “You don’t know my situation, health, family, boss…,” yet the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul assures us/me we have joy as a resident fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit. I can tell you the fruit of fear can be more evident in this heart than joy from time to time, but the desire and intent for joy to fly over my life is fierce!
Today, I am going to start the tune “Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart” all around me. I may move from humming to singing as my “thoughs” start crowding in around me! Hey, if you cross my path and I am humming, singing, or shouting “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,” promise me you won’t stare. Just join in and we can begin a revolution of joy! “And if the devil doesn’t like it…”
“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15: 11