I watched a film called ‘About Time’ which was about time travel, okay yeah it was a bit far-fetched but bear with me. The guy in it had the ability to go back to single moments in his life and do it differently with the gift of hindsight. But, as in all good Hollywood movies, there was a plot twist. Things started to shift and alter, he went back too far and he ended up not marrying the love of his life, or he would come back to the present and he would have a totally different child!
The point I’m trying to make is, what we do today affects what happens in the rest of our lives. Okay, it may not be as dramatic as marrying the wrong person or spawning an alien child… but the concept is there, if we choose to be joyful in all circumstances, rather than wait until we feel good…a change begins to surface within us. We become more joyful people by nature because we know that our joy is not based on circumstance, it’s based on something more resolute than that! Hebrews 12 1-2 says “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross”. Like Jesus, we look to a greater joy that is unshakable even when life is… weird. (Sorry I couldn’t think of a more all-encompassing word than that)
One example I remember so clearly is last year during a season of fasting our church was going through. I was at a prayer meeting, not by choice I hasten to add, and I was saying to God in my mind ‘man, I so don’t wanna be here… I can’t intercede for the ministries in church and other people when I feel pretty rubbishy myself’ and in that moment God dealt with me. So, I got up and started praying with attempted passion, suddenly I felt the Holy Spirit touch me and start to work on things in me because I had started to look outward and upward rather than always inward. Its amazing how when people go to third world countries, they almost always comment on how joyful the people there are, I truly believe that this is because these people have it figured out, joy doesn’t come from circumstance!
The film ends with the main guy deciding that he probably won’t go back and try to change things anymore, rather, he would attempt to start living more deliberately the first time round. This is our calling, live as deliberately, radically joyful people of God!