There is a well known cartoon named "winnie the pooh" and within that cartoon is a character named Eeyore the donkey. This character is known for being pessimistic and gloomy in nature and most of the other characters spend their time trying to lift his spirits. While this is an extreme example of being negative, it does paint an important picture of how ironic it would be if Eeyore claimed to follow Jesus. This week's practice at its core is this..... don't be Eeyore! This month we have been focused on "Celebrating Victory" and that victory is the one that Jesus gives us the ability to claim through His blood.
So lets make our example a little more tangible....... Jesus has given me ETERNAL LIFE...... so I am going to choose to be (sad, upset, angry, etc) because of failure of my (health, wealth, profession, family, etc). How about even more simple than that..... Jesus has given me LIMITLESS ETERNAL(love, happiness, grace, life, wisdom, encouragement....etc) in a never ending spiritual existence....... so i am going to be upset about something that has ...ZERO guarantees.... CONSTANT limitations..... and in every way defines the word FINITE.... Why would you choose that.... why would you let that consume you when you can claim and embrace something that is eternal every day you wake up with breath in your lungs?
I understand the pain of life..... I understand the importance of frustration and grief.... but you absolutely CANNOT let those things consume and warp your mind and heart. The reason I make such an emphatic statement.... Is because the world.. and those that do not know the truth... NEED YOU TO CELEBRATE VICTORY SO THEY KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TO BE TRULY ALIVE
Here are some practical ways you can EMBRACE JOY this week.......
1) Determine- what is it that bring you joy in life? music, nature, people, food, laughter, literature... only you can determine what truly makes you joyful
2) Discern- How can you do those things that bring you joy and invite God into them? worship music, prayerful walk, discussion about Jesus with friends, recognizing the blessing of a meal, etc. Everything we do with our life can point us to the joy we claim in Jesus, you simply have to choose to see it that way.
3) Decide- Who will you do this with, and when will you start(right now would be my suggestion). It is important to make a definite decision about what this looks like for you, you have to make it real so it can actually manifest in your life.
4) CELEBRATE- As you do whatever you have decided to do... choose to see the face of Jesus and be filled with the warmth and joy that comes from celebrating the victory that shines on you as you walk, talk, laugh, read, eat, or whatever it is that you love to do so much!
5) Repeat- Don't let this be a one time thing... do it again...and again. Because when you are filled with joy other people who are not will want to know what fills you. The Gospel has tremendous power when it doesnt come out of the mouth of Eeyore.