God challenged me back in college days – Sandy, live your life “out of joy, not out of fear.” On the heels of Errol’s “Toward Fearless” post, I submit the following for our consideration:
What substance have we been told makes us strong? Milk? Broccoli? Raw eggs?
Scripture says “The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Can we eat God’s joy? Can we do anything to get the joy of the LORD into us and flowing through us?
Yes. Scripture calls it rejoicing. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4) This is rejoicing in Jesus – who He is and what He has done, is doing, and will do.
Here’s one Recipe for Rejoicing…we need three simple ingredients:
- Music: Create or find your style of “worship” music (the kind with which your spirit connects)
- Space: Find a suitable place where you can let loose in God’s presence
- Your Body: Warm up, then have at it – sing, clap, dance it up, baby, as best as that ole body will allow
Let me tell you a bit of my story. I was a really joyful kid. I remember singing Roger Whitaker’s “Momma Mary” at the top of my little kid lungs. In Grade 6, I switched schools to learn French, and all my friends from my first school stopped being my friends. At this point, I lost my childhood joy. My life felt broken and hollow. The summer before Grade 8, God introduced himself to me at Camp Qwanoes. I heard the story of Jesus and how much He loves me and I believed. I entrusted myself to Jesus and my life was made new. I rediscovered a whole new joy – the joy of the LORD.
At this time, I started searching for music that could really stir my spirit (ah yeah, Columbia House). One day, I cranked a Third Day song in my bedroom and began vigorously dancing around for God, expressing my joy and love for Him. I was learning to rejoice in the Lord. And then my dad walked in!!!! Ha! I was so embarrassed. It can be a little embarrassing when you are beginning to learn to rejoice in the LORD, can’t it? But let’s take heart – it’s worth learning how now, since the future will be characterized by a great unending rejoicing.
Back to the recipe. Not sure it’s for you? Well, why not give it a shot first when you are alone with God. What have we got to lose? It’s great to get started with Private Rejoicing. (I think private rejoicing is a key factor in keeping me alive so far in pastoral ministry. David Crowder’s “You Are My Joy” is one of my favourites.)
And, let it be known – there is one thing we can do to make rejoicing even more powerful: Public Rejoicing. Same Songs…Same Space…as One Body. Less afraid, more joyful Church. Hallelujah?!