Joy without the happy clappy

Habakkuk 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

happyclappyThis verse reminds me of a song we sang in church growing up.  It went something like: “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.  Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Rejoice, rejoice, and again I say rejoice….”  And so on.  It was a happy clappy with simple lyrics.  People would yell back the echo of rejoice or start dancing to prove that they really were rejoicing.  If you were really into it you would clap on the offbeats.  Is that what it means to rejoice in the Lord and to take joy in Him?  Do you have to sing a cheesy song with almost no lyrics while clapping, shouting, and dancing? Let’s hope not.

So what does taking joy in the Lord look like?  Well, it can look like a lot of things.  It can look like dancing or  happy clapping.  It can look like singing from the top of your lungs.  But it can also look like standing still or kneeling.  It can look like silence and tranquility.  It can feel like you just won the lottery but it can also feel like peace in the midst of a storm.  When we think of joy, we think of happiness.  We think it is a feeling to be felt or an expression made on our faces.  However, joy from the Lord permeates emotion, will, mind, body, and spirit.

The joy that comes from the God of my salvation begins when I recognize Him as Savior.  It comes when I make a decision to put my trust in Him.  He breathes joy into my life as I take hold of Him.  It doesn’t matter whether I am laying on the beaches of Maui or deep in the trenches of battle.  It doesn’t matter if everyone likes me or I’ve just made 10 new enemies.  His joy doesn’t rely on my feeling of happiness, but rather on His absoluteness.  He is absolutely joy and peace and love.  And when I choose to “take joy” in Him, I get it.

So I choose to rejoice today.  I’m a little too tired to jump up and clap or shout hallelujah.  Life’s not easy enough to feel like I am on top of the world.  I don’t feel perfect or holy.  The sun’s not shining and I’m a bit low on vitamin D.  But I will rejoice.  Yes, today I will take joy in the God of my salvation!

Tigger, not Eeyore

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 

Let’s first notice that this verse does not say, “But you are worthless, messed up, sin-stained people.  How in the world could Christ possibly love you?  It’s unbelievable that you would even think you could do something significant for the glory of God.”  Why would I say that?  Because it seems as though God’s people have a case of stolen identity.  So often, we come to God in our state of brokenness feeling pretty lousy about ourselves.  Now inherently there is nothing wrong with that, for compared to Him we are kind of lousy by nature.  But there’s this subtle trap of the enemy to keep us feeling lousy.  So we live like unchosen, common, unholy, orphans.  That’s not who we are.

We are chosen, royal, holy, and adopted!  We have got to embrace that identity and start acting like it.  Many Christians walk around like Eeyore when they should be bouncing off the walls like Tigger.  Where’s the joy, adopted one?  Where’s the security, you who are chosen?  God has called us out of darkness and into His glorious light, yet we continue to run for the shadows.  We forget who we are and let the lie define us.  We get caught in the trap of who we used to be and it keeps us from living for Him.

It’s time to embrace the truth, friends.  It’s time to start living like the royalty we are in Christ.  Yes, now is the time to start singing His praises and proclaiming His greatness.  Today is the day to stand up proud and tall and declare who you are.  You are chosen to be royalty. In Him, you are made Holy.  And best of all… you are His.  So when you hear the deceiver whispering in your ear, simply say: “you’re messing with the wrong person, I belong to Jesus.”