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Is she a Joy Bringer or a hypocrite?
If you’ve ever had this thought, don’t worry, I’m not offended and frankly, I’m not surprised. It’s natural to wonder if someone who claims to be a Joy Bringer is really one who brings joy. So, which is it? Joy Bringer or hypocrite? Well, the answer is, yes.
I am very aware as the Lord extends my reach and I have the privilege to bring the truth of who Jesus is and the joy of the gospel to people, there will be many (both far and very close to me) who don’t buy it. And frankly I get it! It’s easier to write me off. It’s easier to deny the truth that joy is for you because of the Good News of the perfect love of Jesus, when it’s sent through a Joy Bringer, a mere human who isn’t perfect.
In the New Testament, angels brought “Good News of great joy” to the shepherds. It was pretty hard to ignore them! It was Jesus who revealed himself to Saul, the pharisee who was out to stop the spread of the Jesus movement at any cost. Okay, it took a few days of temporary blindness, but the Good News transformed him and changed his life and his name! But for many, even when they saw Jesus face to face, or the miracles of the apostles, they just didn’t receive it! There were those who walked with sinless and perfect Jesus, and still rejected him. If they did it to HIM, I don’t feel so bad!
The Good News is a gift. The truth of who Jesus is and the joy he brings isn’t forced on anyone. We have a choice to receive it! But watch out, once you receive, it will change your life!
That’s the issue here. The joy found in Jesus has the power to change your life. While some are ready for that change, many resist it and will do what it takes to defend that choice. It’s easier to find reasons to focus on the messenger and not the message, so we can continue to live in ways that are familiar and comfortable – even if it’s not good for us.
There are those who believe that I am not a Joy Bringer, rather, that I am a hypocrite. But are they right? Well, they’re not wrong. I’m going to use the words of Paul in Romans 7:15-20 to help explain what I mean.
I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 16 And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 17 And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. 18 For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but will-power is not enough to accomplish it. 19 My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. 20 So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am. – Romans 7:15-20 TPT
I want to get a few things straight. I am not THE Joy Bringer. I am a person who has been lovingly and powerfully changed by God and continues to grow everyday because of that love. I have not arrived. I am not perfect. That’s the hardest part. Sin hurts. I hate that! I hate that my choices and failings have caused pain and difficulty in others. The only thing I can do is keep pursuing Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate fruit in me. I deeply desire to be filled with the truth and love of the Lord so that everything that pours out of me is an overflow of that love and truth. And when what comes out of me isn’t that pure, fresh living water, I am grateful for the grace of God to cover all my sin.
While the voice of the enemy trying to stop me is loud, the voice of grace says, keep going!
Grace says, just look at Me.
Grace says, I will protect you.
Grace says, I love those around you even more then you do.
Grace says, I am sufficient to cover all sin.
Grace says, I love you.
Grace says, YES, I have called you to bring joy to the world.
It’s easy to be discouraged by the other voices, but Grace wins. While I can’t control what people think or if they receive the message, I will continue to be loved. I will continue to allow that love to motivate the message. I will continue to be a Joy Bringer, because that joy changed my life and I want it to change your life too.
So, I confess as Paul did, while I am doing my best to bring joy and love to everyone I encounter, I do not always succeed. For the moments that my sin has hurt you, or others, I am deeply sorry. For the times I’ve disappointed you, I am sorry. But the good news is, Jesus will never fail you. He is THE Joy Bringer. And while I continue to allow that Good News to transform me, I bless you to receive the joy that is for you from Jesus himself.
Joyfully a Joy Bringer,