Thursday, February 16, 2006

Joy camp-part 1

"I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! John 15:9-11

The other day I went to pick up my son from a friend’s house. He had been there for three hours playing with one of his little buddies. As I approached the front door of the house I was able to look in the front window. There Sam was playing on the floor with Joey and some toys. He looked up and saw me through the window and jumped straight up in the air. He just kept jumping too. Until we got him in our arms he was jumping! His little heart was filled with joy.

Nueroligists say that in a child’s first two years, the desire to experience joy in loving relationships is the most powerful force in life. In fact, they now say that among the most basic of human needs is to be the “sparkle in someone’s eye.” When this joy is the strongest force in a child’s world, life makes sense, because children look forward to moments when they can reconnect to joy by being with their beloved.

Wonderfully enough, that innocent desire that begins in childhood continues throughout our entire lives. Life makes sense and is empowered by joy when we are in relationship with those who love us and are sincerely glad to be with us.

Life falls apart when there is no one to love us. Joy ebbs from our lives and we seek alternatives to joy. We try to be happy. Entertainment, vacations, television, etc…we try it all. Our brains are wired to seek and return to joy. Joy was meant to be our default setting. The problem is that joy is relational. It is only produced and communicated in living beings. People give and receive joy not things. Joy is produced when I move into the presence of someone who is truly glad to see me.

I have a friend who pastors in Arizona. We have been friends for many years. I can just simply be with him and receive strength from his presence. When he looks at me he is glad to see me and I him. We give and receive life to each other simply by seeing each other. He sees good in me and I him. Do you have any friends like that? I love him deeply, more deeply than I can explain. He gives me joy.

Jesus has been trying to tell us this stuff for years. He said that if we would love the way he loves, that we would be filled with His joy and that our joy would be full. Christ followers are to fill the earth with His joy. We are to abound in His love and experience it to its fullest. It is to pour out of us upon others giving them and us joy.

This is why Jesus “loved us the way the Father loves Him”. He wants to empower our hearts with joy strength. As we believe in His love we get healing joy. As we lay down our lives for each other and love each other God gives us even more joy. This is the secret-love people deeply and you will have joy. It is God’s antidote to depression.

In fact, the church should be joy camp. I am going to pick up here tomorrow…

Joy to you,

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