Summary: This message looks at what being negative really gets you...

Where does joy come from?

I think so many times we equate joy with stuff. If I have all the right toys, the big house, enough money - then I can be happy... Other people equate joy with relationship. If I am getting along with all my friends, if my family is in order, if things are going well... Then I am joyful.

Listen to what Psalm One says... (Read Psalm 1)

I’ve been reading a lot lately in the New Testament. Specifically, I’ve been reading some of Paul’s letters. Paul was a church planter and he would move onto a new city and then write back to these churches - that makes up a lot of the New Testament - and I keep running into verses like Philippians 4:4 “Always be full of the joy in the Lord. I say it again, Rejoice!” Here’s a verse that talks about joy. He tells us to rejoice - The only thing is, that when Paul was writing that passage - he was in jail! As a matter of fact, the whole letter of Philippians is amazing. Paul doesn’t want to talk at all about his circumstances - they don’t matter - what matters is that Christ’s message is spreading - that the Gospel is being shared...

Your joy is tied to what influences you...

In psalm 1, David contrasts those who are influenced by the wicked - and those that are influenced by God.

In this day and age in which we live, its very easy to be influenced by the enemy. Doom and gloom and negativity are on every channel. Its not very hard for us to find a way to sin either... Its interesting to me that in this Psalm sin is mentioned as a progression. Sin starts off small, but like a snowball rolling down hill it gains stem and becomes big very quickly.

But if you want to be full of joy you have to choose to be influenced by God. Psalm 1:3 “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.”

That’s more than just reading the Bible... I think this idea of delighting in the Lord ties back to the greatest commandment - “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your strength, and with all your mind.”

We were created to fall in love with God. He is supposed to be central in everything that we do.... In him we find Joy and life and fulfillment.

Do you remember what it was like to fall in love for the first time... I remember what it was like when I first started dating Dana. I wanted to be around her constantly. We spent hours upon hours together talking, and laughing, and even kissing... You know, I still want that time. I still love it when we get the chance to hang out.

You see the more time you spend with God the deeper your relationship grows. The deeper your love grows, and the deeper your joy grows...

The psalmist adds that not only is there delight, but there is also meditation - I think this speaks to the need for our lives mirror Christ.

Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commands.” I think the psalmist is speaking of this... To meditate on God’s law is to make it part of your life. To read it and adapt your life to it... (not the other way around)

He says if you do this... You become like this tree that is planted - you are no accident - you are right where God wants you to be - you are planted by the stream - meaning that you will have sustenance - you find your strength from God and your roots go down deep. You will bear fruit and your leaves won’t wither - both of these images speak of longevity - you will make a difference - he says you will prosper in all you do...

I think that’s what Joy is all about. You see joy is more than just happiness at any given moment. Joy is deeper than that. Joy is knowing that God loves you and knowing that you are in right standing with him. That’s how Paul was able to know that even if he were to die in Prison - I can still rejoice in the Lord!

Do you have that kind of joy? ...or have you been letting other things influence you?

I can tell you that the greatest thing you could do today is to reach out and ask for Jesus to save you. Jesus said, I came to seek and save the lost...and he also said that I came so that you could have life - abundant life. Maybe today you need to choose life in him...

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