As we continue our preparation for celebrating the Birth of Christ, Joy is next up. Joy can be confused with happiness. While being filled with Joy can be revealed as happiness, sometimes we can have Joy and be in the worst of circumstances. Joy is more a state of mind than a heart condition. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

You took the checkered flag, won the victory, and are headed to Victory Lane. You are pumped, your team is jumping up and down on pit road. They run to greet you, pounding on the roof, high fives everywhere, the fans are cheering for you, you climb from the car and let out a yell, everything you and the team worked for has come together in this victory. That is happiness.

Now let’s take a walk to the garage, there you find a driver who finished back in the pack, never contended for the victory but the team ran the race to the best of their ability. They roll into their stall and you see the smile of contentment on their face. The driver exits the car with a grin of satisfaction from ear to ear, the crew surrounds him. Thankful to be at the track and running the race is the order of the day. Contentment to be in the race at the track. Where they finished wasn’t the point, being there was. That is Joy.

Joy is what we have inside us when our priorities are inline. Joy is not happiness, but joy can make us happy. Joy is not circumstantial, it does not matter where we are, what is going on around us or who is with us. Joy is a condition of our heart when things are in line, and it starts in our mind.

Joy is a condition of priority. We cannot experience Joy if our lives are in turmoil. It can be fleeting if we are tossed about here and there by public opinion or what people think about us. Even in the midst of chaos joy can be in our lives. It is more about who we belong to than what is going on around us.

Joy has some requirements to be present in our lives. True joy can only exist if God is present. Why you might ask. Because God’s presence is essential for hope to exist. Hope is essential to have Joy. You see joy is when our mind tells our heart to be at peace even in the chaos of the world around us. They are building blocks that form a foundation allowing us to stand firm in spite of the craziness around us.

For example, let’s take our grandkids. They were at the house for cookie baking, tree decorating and holiday movie watching. If you understand anything about the dynamics of the young mind you know the chaos that ensued. NO, not bad chaos, wonderful chaos. My heart was filled with joy at the sights and sounds of laughter, arguing, mess making, and everything that goes with trying to herd cats. Now there were some things I wasn’t happy about but that didn’t change the joy I had in my heart to share these special moments with them. 

Now comparing grandkids to the chaos of the world might seem a bit odd. Truth be told the same thing happens each day around us, things happen out of our control that challenge us. They challenge us in a way that we lose hope, joy is fleeting and peace isn’t even on the radar. Truth is we don’t control the world and if we did, we’d probably mess that up. Let’s just stick with what’s going on inside of us for now.

When we have God first in our lives, when we put others above ourselves, when we humble ourselves and serve others instead of serving ourselves, we find we have things in the right place and joy exists.

Romans 5:1-11; 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

What is the condition of our heart? Is it filled with joy? Most times it is not. Do you know how I can tell? Because the scripture tells us to rejoice. RE means to do it again, do it over and over and over until you have it right. Then do it some more. Try it again. It is a reminder to reprioritize our lives.

We get things mixed up. We get things out of order. So, God’s word reminds us to RE joice!

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God! 

Salvation, faith in Christ for he has delivered us! But what about all the problems we face? But we also rejoice in our sufferings

…because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Remember we talked about Hope last week. Hope comes from God; it is not found in man. Without God, man is hopeless. We cannot save ourselves. Rejoice! God has provided the answer in His son Jesus Christ.

We need to Re do some things. Remember to reorder our lives. Remember to praise God for what he has done; for the fulfillment of his promise for his great love for us, for the provision of a Savior. Praise be to God. 

Praising God returns our mind, heart and soul to the right focus. Instead of complaining or even asking God to fix the situation around us we should first praise Him for all he has done for us. When we get that right everything else falls into place!

Scripture reminds us in many places to recharge the Joy bank. We need to be reminded of the joy we have in the Lord. As we prepare to rejoice in the birth of Christ remember that the joy he brings is not just for this time, it is for eternity.

Joy produces peace, a peace that transcends understanding. We can only be effective witnesses for God if we get our priorities right. That is why we find so many encouragements in God’s word to rejoice.

Joy comes not from what is around us, but it comes from what is in us. The Holy Spirit! Let the Holy Spirit reign in your life. Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel!

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.