Word Wednesday: “Xapa”

God Gold of the day

[Xapá] ——> Joy (Chara)

The Greek word for “joy” is chara, derived from the word charis, which is the Greek word for grace. This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that chara (“joy”) is produced by the charis (“grace”) of God. This means “joy” isn’t a human-based happiness that comes and goes. Rather, true “joy” is divine in origin, a fruit of the Spirit that is manifested particularly in hard times. Someone may feel happiness, merriment, hilarity, exuberance, excitement, or “high spirits,” but all of these are fleeting emotions. On the other hand, “joy” is a Spirit-given expression that flourishes best when times are strenuous, daunting, and tough!

The word happiness emboldens visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing to an exotic locale. Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit: spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party is over? Often happiness flees despair sets in.

In contrast to happiness stands [Joy]. Running deeper and stronger, [Joy] is the quiet confident assurance of Gods love and work in our lives — that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but [Joy] depends on Christ.

He is an example given in First Thessalonians 1:6, the Thessalonians were under great stress due to persecution; yet in the midst of it all, they continued to experience great joy. In fact, the Greek strongly implies that their supernatural joy was due to the Holy Spirit working inside them. Paul even called it the “joy of the Holy Ghost.”

BIG Grinning Lights

God Gold of the Day

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬

I honestly feel like I’m beating on the same ole drum every time I send a message to you about “focusing on God” or “keeping your eyes on what is good.” I know I am beating on that same ole drum because it’s what I need and literally have to preach to myself daily. There’s a lot in this world that tries to get us down, a lot of negative poured into our lives, and a whole lot of terrible things going on around us. The easy thing to do is live in that negative, talk about it, and act in the same way that we complain about the word acting. I’ll be honest, I could list off a lot of things about my life I’d like to be different but how will that help me? None. If anything that complaining will make things much much worse.

I love looking at Paul’s situation as he writes to the church at Philippi, this whole book screams one HUGE lesson for you and me, be joyful. Paul is writing to encourage others to have joy while he is sitting in prison? Sounds crazy but Paul is living in what he’s preaching. No amount of complaining or negative talk is going to change his situation. Instead, having thanks for all the Lord has done and continues to do in his life, being joyful no matter what his situation, that changed everything! Because of Paul’s joy and complete faith that where He was is exactly where the Lord wanted him, his writing inspired by God’s Spirit is still encouraging people today! What an example from Paul!

His example and these words of truth God has given us don’t need to be taken lightly. We have so much pulling at us daily to go the opposite direction, away from God’s goodness and into the worlds, and our own badness.

To safeguard your faith, to keep you standing strongly before the Lord daily, rejoice in the Lord! Constantly, all the time, as much as you possibly can, focus on the good, the pure and honorable! Fix your thoughts on God and all that He has done in your life. And if you say, “I don’t have any of that good in my life.” Are you breathing? Do you have food to eat? People that love you? We have so much to be thankful for!!!! It’s so cool how when we begin to fix our thoughts on God and His goodness, our reactions to the bad of this world change drastically. I know for me, when I’m struggling in the worst ways, my thoughts are covered by the worst things. Even when things aren’t going the way you want them, or somebody says or does something to you that’s not that great, focus on God! Focus on all the good He has placed around you! God is never changing and neither is His goodness! When things aren’t going great, seek deeply the good in it! Seek God in it! You’ll be amazed at how God transforms your thoughts and actions into someone who is radically different compared to this world but so normal compared to God and His ways!

Be joyful today! No matter what you’re going through, focus on God and the good He’s set in your life! I’m praying for you that the Lord transforms your heart and minds to focus on Him and His good! That the Lord will lift our thoughts up to His way of looking at things! I pray the Lord will continue to transform us in this way daily so we will live as big GRINNING lights in this world! People will take notice and say, “that dudes in prison but he has so much joy??? What’s he smoking cause I want some of that!” Then we can tell them that the only thing smoking is the fire God has set in our hearts and minds to live in His goodness!” And if you want to know what this looks like, look at the fella in this picture! Goodness gracious he might not have any teeth but he’s got so much joy written all over his face!