There is something about a deep-seated attitude adjustment. And I don’t mean slapping on a smile and calling it good or pretending everything is okay—I mean the really on the inside revolutionary change of the foundation of our being.
There is something different about Joy. Really possessing Joy and claiming it as an identity piece creates something different in the way we see the world. Our hearts were designed for being founded in Heavenly Joy, so it makes sense that a perspective shift accompanies our Joyfulness.
I have spent a lot of time wondering who I am, and I’ve realized, when my heart is rooted in Joy, that question becomes unshakable certainty that I am found and identified by my place as a Daughter and Heiress in the Kingdom of Heaven. Even in the midst of tragedy, this Joy-reality permeates the suffering to remind me that all is never lost, and Joy really does come in the morning—that Joy is laid out for me for the rest of forever. From Eternity past, Joy has been building and building to the moment when it will be complete on that Good Day when I will see Jesus face to face.
Our Joy increases, and it is only given permission to slide away when we take our eyes off Jesus. It’s like when Peter fell into the sea after walking on water because, just for a moment, he removed his eyes from the Savior because he allowed the voice of doubt to turn his head.
There is a difference between simply hearing the voices that desire to remove our eyes from Christ and actually listening to their call. We will very often heart the voice of doubt, especially as we are learning to keep an unmoving eye on the goal of this whole life thing, but as our journey into the service of our Good King continues, as we train ourselves to listen to the Still Small Voice, it is much easier to not turn our eyes to what is worried and worldly.
Our Joy doesn’t deserve to be compromised by our fears, especially since we have so many assurances—365, in fact—that we need not be anxious because God has overcome the afraid with the Blood of His Son. And this Joy will not be silent, but we can certainly allow it to be drowned out by the shouts of the Enemy when we aren’t actively seeking after the One Who won this Joy.
True Joy cannot be found apart from the Presence.
True Joy knows Home and looks forward to it—kept in the Presence of Joy Himself by the ever-present regard of the Truth about Heaven and Love’s Great Forever Call to the deepest parts of our soul.
We keep Joy present by keeping His Presence—everything else is merely an attempt at reproducing something that cannot be reproduced. Our hearts may momentarily respond to the faux joy attempts of this world but only because they recognize within them a vain desire to reproduce the Really Real Joy.
And where this Really Real Joy is present, Hell is powerless.
Joy, the purity of delight in the Father, is terrifying to Hell because Joy is void of self-centeredness and fear, and it seeks to glorify and fellowship with the Holy of Holies, casting out isolation and self-misidentification.
“The Joy of the Lord is my strength” is not a cute anecdote but a Hell-defying battle cry because where God’s strength is put into play on our behalf, Hell has no power and Heaven has reminded the Kingdom of Darkness that its final defeat is coming.
So rejoice! The Kingdom of Heaven is near!
Abide in the Presence and this present Joy will rush in unmatched by the voice of darkness. Trial and suffering will come, plague will destroy and Hell will attack, but in prison, in famine, in grief, one Thing will be tangible beyond our worst fears—Joy is never out of reach because He is never out of reach. Everything may come crashing down around us, there will be tears and smiles may be downcast, but our confidence still stands because we are sure of His Promises and that the wells of Joy will never run dry in this Now and Not Yet Kingdom.
“Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” (C.S. Lewis)