It’s audio devo day! Have you been feeling heavy-hearted lately? If so, this is just the thing for you. Grab a cuppa, get comfy, and allow Holy Spirit to breathe something fresh into your spirit as you listen here:
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I pray this verse almost every morning, as I wake from sleep. I have been doing so for a few years now – not with perfect consistency by any means, but I have prayed it hundreds of times. Two powerful motivations fuel this practice for me. The first is that I long to know the Father’s unfailing love at deeper and deeper levels. The second is this: I understand that immersion in His perfect love is the way forward into joy.
This verse perfectly expresses the connection between the two. Again, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Did you catch that last part? “all our days.” This is not a hyperbole, not an exaggeration. Daddy really does intend to take us to a place in our lives where we walk, satisfied in His love and singing with His joy, every day of our lives.
Joy is exceedingly important to Daddy God. This is why He registered it as Number Two in His list of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It’s way up there in His hierarchy of values. This is for multiple reasons, but here are a couple of the biggest ones. First of all, joy is the atmosphere of Heaven… and He longs to bring the Kingdom of Heaven into our lives in ever-increasing measure. Secondly, as He does so, we will walk in ever-increasing strength. His joy literally is our strength. He intends to make us absolutely mighty in spirit through the increase of His joy on the inside of us. So, Holy Spirit is constantly at work in us, moving towards the goal of incorporating Jesus’ joy into our very natures.
Just like the rest of our spiritual growth, joy does not happen by default. As we aspire to grow in faith, hope, and love, we also must desire to grow in joy. This is especially challenging to those of us who were born with a more serious nature, like myself. To illustrate this, I’ll share with you an occasion I remember from back when I was a teenager. At that time, a brother in the Lord gave me this prophetic word: “God says that you should not take yourself so seriously.” He was spot on, hearing from Holy Spirit on that one. You see, I had a bent from an early age to be intense about everything.
I’ll also give you an example of how this plays out in my adult life. Here in Iquitos, the capital city of the Amazon Jungle of Peru, there is a silly birthday tradition. The people here, including my family members, love to sneak up and crack eggs on each other’s heads to celebrate the anniversary of their arrival into the world. This is usually followed with dumping a bunch of flour on top of the raw egg and all over their clothes. The birthday boy or girl essentially becomes a birthday cake. For good measure, they often push the lucky one being celebrated right into their actual birthday cake by the back of their head.
In my twenty years of life here in the jungle, this has never happened to me. Not once. It happens to everyone else that I know. But not to me. For starters, I have never cracked an egg on someone else’s head. I’m not reaping that harvest. Here’s the main reason, though, I think: I seem to give off a glow of solemnity. My persona simply does not seem to inspire pranks or shenanigans. Like I said, I’ve always tended to be more of the serious sort.
Sooo, yeah. Holy Spirit has had a big project when it has come to producing deep joy on the inside of this one (pointing at myself). But you know what? He’s up to it. He is amazingly good at what He does. Especially when we are hungry and eager for His work in our lives.
As for me, I want what He’s got for me with all that is within me! How about you? I have been asking Him for years now to grow His joy inside of me. At this point in my life, He has made a whole lot of progress. For example, I laugh and get silly with my kids way more easily than I used to, even in hard times. Last year, when Lily was in the hospital, I bought her a little doll that we named Dolly.
Dolly provided us with some precious memories in the middle of that difficult season. We got so many giggles out of blaming Dolly for our messes. “Dolly! Don’t do that!” I would exclaim when a piece of food fell off of Lily’s fork and onto the hospital bed. “For goodness’ sake, stop spilling peas all over the place, Dolly!” This would send Lily off into hilarious chortles of laughter, which was deliciously contagious. It never got old. It still hasn’t, a year later. Just a few days ago, we were at with our Dolly antics again. I tell ya, Dolly is so full of mischief, all the time! Just thinking of it makes me chuckle now.
So yes, Holy Spirit has indeed been answering my prayer. He has been satisfying me in the morning with Daddy’s unfailing love, and causing me to grow in His joy as a result. You know, we could even say that joy is a whole one-third of the manifestation of His Kingdom in our lives, based on this verse: “For the kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17, NKJV).
Joy is, in fact, one of the biggest signs of spiritual maturity. It’s one of the most important indicators of how much His Kingdom has come on the inside of us. Daddy means for us to pursue joy and pray for it and practice it and cultivate it and give it space to grow. Within the context of our aspirations, He means for us to make it one of our highest and most passionate priorities, just as it is for Him.
I know I, personally, have so much more road to travel when it comes to growing in joy. You too? Dear one, let’s embrace the pursuit of a lifestyle of joy. Let’s desire it, let’s make room for it, let’s aim for it, and let’s ask continually for it. I am so grateful for this undying promise when it comes to the joy He longs to give us: “Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16:24, NLT).
Have you heard many sermons on the topic of joy? Read many articles or books on it? Is this a subject that we Christians tend to see as a priority? Why or why not?