Thursday, September 30, 2010

+ fix your eyes. +

Mmmmm. Blog time. Let's see what's been going on in my head lately.

Joy is what's been going on. Let's talk about joy!

What is joy?

The dictionary says, "the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated."

What does the Bible have to say about joy?

It says a lot. A whole lot.

- - -

"He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy;
he is restored by God to his righteous state." Job 33:26

"You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound."
Psalm 4:7

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5

Nehemiah said, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10

- - -

Joy. We all want it. We all wish for it. We all remember the times we had it. Mostly as kids, when we were carefree, or for a brief period when life was overwhelmingly good.

Unfortunately, the majority of us don't have hearts filled and overflowing with joy. We aren'treaping with songs of joy. We are grieving. Because life is HARD. And painful.

It's difficult to have a heart overflowing with joy when we wake up to texts from people we don't want in our lives, when our bodies are shaking with sickness, when we remember what happened yesterday. Joy evades us when the majority of people we talk to in a day drain it from us, when we hate our jobs, when we don't have a job, when we realize how old we are and how far we are from where we thought we would be. With no ability, still, to get there.

I am going to tell you how to have joy. Instantly.

Are you ready?

Here it is.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 2:18

Perception. Vision. The Unseen.

Where are your eyes FIXED? Notice it doesn't say glance. Or look. It says fixed. We fix our eyes on what is unseen. Daily.

Go back and read the joy verses. And the things I listed that suck the joy out of our hearts. Do you see it? Do you see the sharp contrast?

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." The joy OF the Lord. His joy. It comes from him. He is our unseen. He is what we fix our eyes upon. "YOU have filled my heart with joy." When we see God's face, our hearts are filled with joy. Joy comes from Him.

What grieves us? People. Things. Our lives. Our struggles. Disappointments. Hurts. Abandonment. Failures. Worthlessness. Loss.

"But I have Jesus, and I still don't have joy." I've been there. Do you know what's wrong? My eyes were not FIXED on Jesus. Fixation says the eternal is our focus, what we keep in front of us at all times. All times. Locked on the unseen. We lose our joy when we slip from this.

Grief is temporary. Joy is eternal.

When we learn that eternity started before we were born, and not after we die, we will realize that there is an unseen world that exists within our reach. This is the world in which we will find joy.

Fix your eyes on it. Fix your eyes on Jesus. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, our perception changes. We find what we have, not what we do not have. We find what we've been given, not what's been taken away. We find who we are, not who we aren't. We find love, not abandonment. We find that we revolve around our Maker, and not he around us. We find that pain positions us for purpose, and purpose gives birth to joy. The joy that was sown in tears. But we reap only when we learn to fix our eyes on the unseen.

Before I end this, let me remind us of what joy is: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.

Our Jesus is exceptionally good. Exceptionally satisfying. He is the source of keen delight. He is who we should greatly value and appreciate.

When we fix our eyes on this, we experience the emotion.

Fix your eyes.


Anonymous said...

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5 LOVE IT. This is going to be my memory verse for the week. I feel like I've read Psalms a million times and this verse has never stuck out to me before. Thanks for this encouraging reminder on how satisfying the Lord is!

kelly said...

a-freaking-men!!! so good, lauren. so much truth. perception is such a key thing that so many people don't even think about and really if we could get our perception of Him in line, so many other things would fall into place. thank you so much for writing this. i love you.

Han said...

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1 (I think) It's technically a paraphrase of the verse but I remember it lol.

(P.s. my friend that I've known since she came home from the hospital like 24 years ago is getting baptised on Sunday!!!! WOOT WOOT!)

amylou said...

Love this! Thank you for the reminder! I needed this!
P.S. Thank you for your comment. I really appreciated the prayers! You are so sweet!

Rachel Renée said...

thank you for this... I've been thinking about this lately too, and how we can't use God for an emotional high, joy is much deeper and has to do with the kind of person we are. It is precisely the suffering that gives us a greater capacity for joy:

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13

Steph said...

Love this post!!

Ps: I gave your blog an award, come check it out!

Annie @ The House That Jade Built said...

Awesome post. Thank you for this! I came by after you left me a sweet note. I'm doing really good - I can tell prayers are keeping me strong & I am ready to conquer everything with God's help. I may steal some of your post if you don't mind. It's very encouraging!

Kari Ann said...

This is an awesome post. So much truth. To give up our selfish desires and at attempts at joy and to simply allow the Holy Spirit to fill us - to complete us, to love us, to give us joy. : ) Consider me a follower.

P.S. Found you on 20sb.

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