“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
As I sat in service Sunday my Pastor( Stephen Joyce) said something that I will FOREVER carry in my spirit “The Joy of Christ is my STRENGTH”. As I sat there listening, I was reminded of ALL the TEST that have been PRESENTED to me over the past year. The TEST vary…Some “PLAIN TO SEE” & some “UNDER HANDED HOWEVER VERY OVER HANDED” if you know what I mean. However, not ONCE(WELL MAYBE ONCE…) have I felt like “I’M MAD”. Now… those that TRULY know me BC(Before Christ) KNOW that it NEVER REALLY took MUCH for me to “SNAP CRACKLE & POP” off on someone but lately it has been VERY different and I have remained SANE/CALMthru my TEST. Now, as I sat there listening it CLICKED so CLEAR…”That’s IT” “The Joy of Christ is MY STRENGTH”. You see when I was in the world I was HAPPY but didn’t have JOY. Let me break it down for you the way I see it. BC(B4 Christ) I was HAPPY with my life but I would ALWAYS fall into an ANGRY place at the SMALLEST situations because that’s what I would call TEMPORARY happiness. I would get ANGRY then go back to being HAPPY then here comes a situation and I’m ANGRY AGAIN it was a HORRIBLE CYCLE that NEVER seemed to AMAZE me. However, the STAB WOUNDS I have ENDURED after TRULY COMMITTING MY ENTIRE LIFE to Christ have been RECEIVED in Jesus Name. OK, “LET ME EXPLAIN” I have had some VERY VINDICTIVE actions against me and INSTEAD of me being ANGRY or being like “EXCUSE ME” to the person/people, I have MAINTAINED an attitude of “OK THAT’S HOW YOU TRULY FEEL I SEE” (Receiving) & “I’ll ADD that to my prayer list”(Giving THEM/IT to Christ) & in SOME instances going to them “IN LOVE” and expressing my feelings & “MOVING FWD” see I look at it like THEY can STAY in THAT place BUT I have a RESPONSIBILITY to MOVE ON in Jesus Name EVEN when I have done what God has TOLD ME to do by swallowing MY PRIDE, ADDRESSING(in Love), and MOVING ON EVEN when I have been WRONGED. Now, that DOESN’T mean that I have to have the SAME relationship with them(ex. going out, phone calls, long conversations) However, I MUST love them THRU Christ whether it be NEAR OR from a DISTANCE the LOVE MUST REMAIN b/c God SAID SO. What REALLY surprised ME…was that when I come across these people I REMAIN Christ-Like and that’s what made ME notice OK there’s SOMETHING different here. I wasn’t walking around TIGHT FACED or ANGRY or even FAKING being JUST FINE with these ppl “IT WAS REAL” and I couldn’t seem to figure it out but I CONSTANTLY prayed and STAYED in my WORD FISHING for scripture that would HELP me DEAL. So, when my Pastor gave the example of coming into to church or walking around MAD or UNPLEASANT as if someone had “Pulled a strand of weave out your hair” I laughed because I have had MUCH MORE done BUT when he said “The Joy of Christ is MY strength” it was like a tractor trailer ran SMACK into me…..THAT’S IT!!! I have been searching and searching scripture(AND WILL CONTINUE) but God said here’s your answer for YOUR JOY….& I LITERALLY said THANK YOU in service. You see I know people OVER the years that BEEN THRU some STUFF(EX.1 My parents ONLY son being murdered)(Ex.2 a friend of mine ONLY daughter/CHILD.. 3 years old dying in a house fire while at her grandparents house) and when I’m around them they are so HAPPY and NORMAL, now I KNEW these people KNOW the Lord BUT NOW I TRULY understand their JOY and their STRENGTH. Today, I want to encourage SOMEONE who may feel like the world is SWALLOWING them in to DWELL in your WORD and PRAY PRAY PRAY….Give your LIFE….I MEAN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE to Christ and SIT back and RECEIVE YOUR JOY in Jesus Name….ENOUGH with the TEMPORARY HAPPINESS that leads to a DEAD END(LITERALLY) But, STRIVE for ETERNAL JOY(LITERALLY) THRU Christ. God is WAITING to GIVE… are YOU READY to RECEIVE??? Today, LET GO of being HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY in a BOLD way & FABULOUSLY receive JOY JOY JOY in Jesus Name.
Monisha S. Carter