You have all heard it, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”, but have you ever thought about what that meant?
We are all gearing up for February 3rd. We are running out to pick up chips, dip and soda (in massive quantities) to feed to riled up football fans that will over-run our homes. Yes, it is that time of year: The Superbowl. Time to break out the neon NFL sign, the lucky Superbowl socks and that punch bowl your mother-in-law got you for Christmas. It’s game time.
The highest honor for a team is to win it all. Getting to this one game is tough work but when the San Fransisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens make their way to the stadium next Sunday they will fight until the last play. Every player envisions taking home the Lombardi trophy and parading around the city with it. Other than the Lombardi trophy itself, each player gets to take home a miniature trophy of their own: a Superbowl ring.
Last year Eli Manning and the New York Giants basked in all of the above. Taking home the victory, the Lombardi trophy and the ring. They were the kings of football and those winnings became part of who they were. These are the kinds of accomplishment that no one could ever take away from them. As soon as they won the Superbowl, that becomes set in history. They are were the champions. They store up their Superbowl honors and these things will be attached to their name and legacy forever.
It is humorous because the joy of the Lord works just like that. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we receive the joy of Lord. That victory over sin’s shackles rewards us with a trophy that no man can take from us. This joy is not a passing joy or even a situational joy. This joy is constant and unchanging. It never decreases and it never disappears. When the trials and struggles of this world try to break into our souls and take our joy, they will be disappointed to find that their hunger for theft will continue to starve. This world cannot take our joy because it is not a material that can be stolen. This joy remains in us for all of our lives. You cannot strip Eli Manning from his Superbowl ring, it belongs to him. It is a part of who he is. In this same way, our joy cannot be taken from us. It is in our DNA as believers. So when we feel like we have been knocked down, we need to remember that we may not be happy in our flesh, but we have JOY ingrained in our spirit. This joy will carry us through heartache, loss and any kind of pain this world dares to throw our way. Hold fast to this joy. It is your trophy from the Lord, it is your ring that shows all the world that Jesus has overcome all things and through that He has given you unspeakable, unshakeable and theft-proof joy. Our joy becomes out trademark that we wear all around.