PEACE & JOY DEVOTIONAL
Last month, over nine hundred of us gathered around the world and heard an incredible message on PEACE in our second installment of our series Formation.
Ok, side note. Girls, nine hundred women… CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Truly, I can’t. I had the honor of being at one of our very first Sisterhood gatherings in 2012 when just twenty or so women sat around five tables at La Madeline. Just six years later, we had a filled-to-the-brim lobby and an army of women worshipping together in Dallas and Guatemala. What God is doing amongst us is supernatural and stunning. Let’s not take that for granted.
Ok, back to the point. The Formation series is a deep and wide study of the Fruit of the Spirit. To me, the title of this series is genius. Not only is it a shoutout to our girl, Beyonce, but as daughters aren’t we always evolving, always changing, always growing and always asking the Holy Spirit to form His fruit within us? I love that in His kindness and patience, God is constantly at work in us. None of us have “arrived” quite yet.
At the beginning of this year, I asked God to give me a vision for the year. What did He want to form in me? What did He want to prune out of me? What did He have in store for my year? Every year, I ask in anticipation and use the Word to guide my decisions and perspectives. He dropped the word joy in my spirit.
My whole life, people characterized me as “joyful” but, deep inside, I felt like that spark of joy was gone. It’s so like the enemy to take shots at the very thing God has gifted us with, isn’t it? This was my year of telling the devil to get his hands off of my joy.
I immediately started searching the Bible for stories and scriptures on joy. My search came to a jolting stop when I read the story of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the prodigal son in Luke 15. For the first time, I noticed that the shepherd joyfully puts the sheep on his shoulders. The woman calls her friends to come over and celebrate when she finds her lost coin. The father gives his son who had returned home a lavish robe, rings and meal. Perhaps the word joy was just as much about fully understanding His attitude towards me as ‘the One’ as it was about my attitude towards Him and others.
Well, as life would have it, I got busy and the word joy slowly drifted from my attention. Then, we tragically lost my husband’s younger brother and best friend. Everyone in our immediate circle was grieving together – often times, in our home – and the demands of life did not stop in the midst of it all. It felt like joy couldn’t have been less accessible. I reluctantly jumped into our Sisterhood devotional on ‘Peace’ and it totally wrecked me. God showed me that I could access peace at anytime, anywhere – even in my sorrow-filled home. Like Pastor Oneka said at Sisterhood, “peace has never left you because He is peace.”
In this season, God has shown me that the foundation of joy is peace and that both peace and joy are always possible because of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” Because of Jesus, I have access to God’s presence and in God’s presence I am okay, I am able, I am strong, I am steady, I am free, I am healed, I am safe and I am whole. Joy is simply the overflow.
If peace is contentment, joy is just a step further. If peace is the woman from Luke 15 saying ‘phewf’ after finding her lost coin (or credit card – who can relate?!), then joy is her calling up her friends to celebrate. If peace is the relief of knowing the father’s son is back under his roof, joy is the father throwing a party for him.
Peace is satisfaction for life. Joy is enthusiasm for life. Girls, the Shepard (Jesus) came after His one lost sheep (you) and joyfully returned home. He wasn’t just satisfied because He finally had you in His arms, He was enthused because He had you in His arms. If that is the heart of the Father towards us, that should be our heart.
One of our Twelve Stones is “we express joy and thanks.” Joy is an expression and it’s active. The Bible tells us to “rejoice” over two-hundred times. Think of it this way: if your spin instructor jumping up and down has the power to motivate you to push through a 45-minute workout, then your enthusiasm for life has the power to bring hope to the world around you. Here’s the deal. Our personal peace that we store deep within our hearts doesn’t have to stop there. Peace overflowing, expressed as joy, can be a well for others to drink from.
So… Let’s get in His presence. Let’s let peace flood our hearts. Let’s put a pep in our step. Let’s smile big to strangers. Let’s lavishly celebrate each other. Let’s add an exclamation point to our sentences and emojis to our texts. Let’s choose to see things through a lens of God’s goodness. Let’s speak life to every single person. It’s obvious that our world today is crazy, restless, scary and at times, bitter. What this world desperately needs is sons and daughters who are so close to their Father’s heart that they overflow peace and joy wherever they go. And we are the girls for the job.
Need a refresher on His perfect peace before we gather again? You have come to the right place. Click here to listen to Pastor Oneka’s most recent installment of “Formation”. See you in June!
XOXOXOXO Lauren Scott