Relentless Pursuit of Joy
Author: Brandy Wilkins
We must relentlessly pursue joy – with fervor and passion. Without giving up. Without restraint.
For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
Living through this season of uncertainty has caused many of us to grieve. Whether it’s grieving over the threat of the virus, or having our lives as we have known them turned upside down, or the loss of a job, or the isolation and social distancing, there are some real concerns and a process of grieving that many of us are going through. However, God did not call us to live under the circumstances, but instead to walk in victory OVER them. We must refuse to settle for dis-ease, anxiety, or fear. We must refuse to let the heaviness of the atmosphere settle in our spirits and weigh us down. We must relentlessly pursue joy – with fervor and passion. Without giving up. Without restraint.
Joy. It’s a word often used but its depth not understood. Joy is more than happiness. It is not dependent on circumstances or moved by external influences. In Hebrew, joy is ‘simchah’ which Strong’s concordance defines as “gladness,” “delight,” or “pleasure.” Joy is an inner satisfaction or delight that stems from being with Jesus. Psalm 16:11 says “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
As Christians, we carry with us the oil of joy and have the great opportunity to infuse joy into any atmosphere or situation we encounter. Jesus came to “grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn…to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit…” (Isaiah 61:3 AMPC) and has given us the same ministry to others we encounter. John 15:11 TPT says “My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!”
So, how do we pursue joy when our hearts are heavy, or there’s bad news all around us, or we’ve had a significant, unexpected, & maybe even unwanted life change? Here are some practical strategies:
Breathe, Rest, Soak in His Presence
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11: 28-30 TPT
Now I can say to myself and to all, “Relax and rest, be confident and serene, for the Lord rewards fully those who simply trust in him.” Psalm 116:7 TPT
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.” Luke 12: 29-32 MSG
Worship is our weapon against the enemy reminding us how big God is
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
Meditate on Scripture
“What delight comes to the one who follows God’s ways! He won’t walk in step with the wicked, nor share the sinner’s way, nor be found sitting in the scorner’s seat. His pleasure and passion is remaining true to the Word of “I Am,” meditating day and night in the true revelation of light. He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of his life. He is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous.” Psalm 1: 1-3 TPT
Other Scriptures to meditate on: Acts 4:13 NIV; Psalm 91; Psalm 23; Isaiah 54:10
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24 NIV
Connect with Others
We were made for connection. Even during this time of social distancing, God may place someone on our heart to reach out to and encourage. Maybe it’s a phone call or video chat. Maybe it’s an email or a text. Maybe it’s an innovative way to be together while maintaining safe distances.
Father, lift from your people a heavy and burdened spirit and replace with your joy and peace. Help us to be carriers of your Presence, infusing joy in every situation that we encounter. Help us to refresh, encourage, and bring hope to Your people. Let them see You in us and cause them to want to encounter You personally. In Jesus’ name. Amen.