Joy Story: Keys to Connecting with the Playfulness of God

(This is the sixth in a seven-part series outlining the core values of ISSM as represented by the acronym: P.R.E.C.E.P.T.  ‘P’ stands for “Playfulness”)

The gospel is a joy story.

The angel that announced Jesus’ birth clearly connected the gospel with joy: “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10-11, emphasis mine)

If there’s not great joy, it’s not good news.

Joy is the serious business of heaven

— C.S. Lewis

Years ago while observing people getting rocked by the joy in the presence of the Lord, I heard the inward voice of God: Do you think the Holy Spirit is playful?

Is this a trick question? Then again the voice came: Many of these people were robbed of their childhood. I am giving them what they were deprived of.

Did you know that the words ‘joy, gladness, rejoicing’ are found over 840 times in the Bible? The Bible is a handbook, a manual of joy!

— Brian Simmons

Activation

Here are three keys to experiencing and maintaining the joy of the Lord

1. Make His presence your top priority

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever”

Psalm 16:11

While it is true that God is omnipresent, His manifest presence is usually felt and perceived by those to whom His presence is precious. In Psalm 27 David speaks of the “one thing” he desires— “to behold the beauty of the Lord.”

The joy of the Lord is inseparable from the presence of the Lord. Don’t stop in your pursuit until His joy overtakes you!

2. Grow in the fruit of faithfulness

“The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 14:17

A consistent life of joy is possible only when we live in submission to the King. Letting His word and Spirit rule our lives is a sure path to experiencing the supernatural joy that does not depend on favorable life circumstances, but living in harmony with His heart.

3. Rejoice with regularity

Picture Paul in prison. A prison in a sewer system. Mood: Ticked off!

Right? Wrong.

Paul isn’t brooding. He’s writing. Writing a letter to the believers in Phillipi. Seemingly unfazed by the surrounding stench, he scribes:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”

Phillippians 4:4

Are you kidding me right now, Paul?!? Nope. He wasn’t kidding. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis above, rejoicing is no joke. Paul proved you don’t need pristine surroundings to have joy because joy is tied to who God is, not where we are.

If you want joy, you might need to rejoice to get it

— Bill Johnson

God is playful. And the joy story is real. Get in on the joy!!

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