Lighting the traditional third candle of joy during this Advent season is far more than just going through the motions. It helps us to focus upon a continued, joyful journey with Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior. Oh, that we could be exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation such as the Apostle Paul was when staying in Asia Minor!
“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 7:4
Paul earnestly cared for the believers at Corinth, but he had to write a stern letter to them admonishing them to repent and turn to God. When they did so, this caused him to be exceedingly joyful.
The Greek word for joyful in the above-listed verse is chara, Strong’s G5479, which means joy; gladness; the joy received from you; the cause or occasion of joy; or persons who are one’s joy.
Continuing with verses 5-7 of 2 Corinthians 7, “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.”
Joy, A Fruit Of The Spirit.
Joy is listed as one of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)
The challenging aspect about fruit is that it must be nurtured in order to grow. Unfortunately, it’s not one of those “Eureka, Overnite” kinds of things that just spring up on their own and are self-maintained.
Inferring from the above scriptures in Galatians, if we’re living in the Spirit, we’re also walking in the Spirit which means that we are walking in joy.
This will most assuredly help us to
- Conquer fear
- Erase anxiety
- Wash away hopelessness
- Infuse hope
- Cast our cares upon the Lord and not try to carry them ourselves (1 Peter 5:7)
- Stay on the narrow path that leads to everlasting life (Matthew 7:13-14)
Lessons From Mary’s Life.
Joy requires follow-through. From the time Jesus’s mother, Mary, learned that she was with child until His birth required that she maintain her joy despite challenges along the way. Let’s take a look at some of those:
(a) Discovering that she was with child while still in a betrothed state to Joseph.
(b) Receiving and believing what Gabriel, the messenger angel, delivered to her regarding the Christ child.
(c) The arduous journey preceding Jesus’s birth was approximately 90 miles, at least a three-day trip via donkey. This was just days before Jesus arrived!
(d) There were no comfortable, heated, cushy birthing rooms in those days such as are available to some women in our modern-day culture. The inn where Jesus was born could well have been a stable for animals or a cave.
(e) Following Jesus’s birth, the humble little family would have stayed in Bethlehem for 40 days to fulfill Mary’s timeframe of purification under Jewish law. (Leviticus 12:2-4) Following the 40 days, they traveled to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord which was the customary presentation of a firstborn son. (Exodus 13:2, 12)
During this ceremony, a mother could offer either a lamb or two turtledoves (pigeons). Since Joseph and Mary could not afford a lamb, they offered two turtledoves.
Suffice it to say, none of us really know how Mary actually felt about this whole experience. But in my heart, I deem that we can glean a great deal from her joyful song penned in Luke 1:46-55.
But just like Mary, joy will supersede all of life’s challenges if we remain in a joyful state.
Endurance Fuels The Joyful Flame.
It can be so hard for us to wrap our minds around the fact that Jesus endured the cross of His crucifixion for the joy that was set before Him. His life’s mission was the crown of glory and the reward of heaven. This is the believer’s ultimate mission as well.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Prophetic Insights For Daily Living.
#1. Being joyful helps us endure our trials and the crosses we must bear. How does this speak to your circumstances at the moment?
#2. Joyfulness is rooted in Jesus and not our situations in life. Do you deem that adopting this mindset helps us to remain victorious during this lifetime?
#3. Focus upon a joyful journey in Jesus Christ. When we concentrate intently upon something, our hearts and feet will follow. It’s also contagious, so plan to share your joy with everyone you encounter!
#4. There is joy when we spend time in the presence of the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:19
#5. A joyful life is linked to the God of the impossible Who makes things possible. (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 1:37) What is the number one impossibility in your life right now?
#6. How has remaining joyful helped you? Please plan to share this with others during the Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the reason for the season, Jesus Christ, our precious Lord, and Savior.
My encouragement to all of us this week comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in the New Living Translation, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Remaining joyful during adverse times speaks volumes as to how much we trust God.
Please continue to pray for all of those in Kentucky and the other states where terrific tornadoes have wreaked such a path of horrific destruction.
Sheila Eismann, Prophetic Seer, Blogger, Author & Teacher, publishes her weekly blog posts endeavoring to encourage others through God’s word. Her writings include teaching and instructions on how to apply prophetic insights for daily living.
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Photo via Pixabay with author’s textual additions.