Joy under Pressure
Joy under Pressure
Words of Faith 3-31-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...
When you press an orange, what comes out? Orange juice, of course. When life presses a person, what comes out? Well, that depends, doesn't it? James says that as believers, we should look for joy to come out when we find ourselves in the pressure points of life.
Frankly, this is one of the most difficult directives in the Bible. How can we "count it joy" when things are difficult? The word translated trials means adversity or a "putting to proof,” a solicitation, temptation, or experience of evil. Yuck. It really makes no sense. How can a smile attend such a trial? How can we rejoice in the most challenging times of life?
Our problem lies with our definition of joy. We think of joy in terms of getting our way, winning a game, or buying the latest iPhone. The only way to "count it joy" is to realize that James is talking about something much deeper, a different definition of biblical joy.
First of all, biblical joy is not something based upon our circumstances. It is not something based upon people or things. We probably knew that much. Biblical joy does not find its source in anything earthly and therefore, cannot be dissuaded by any earthly condition.
More importantly, Biblical joy is named as a fruit of God's Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22 ff.). It does not really depend upon us. And in many ways, Joy is more like a "Juice of the Spirit.” Joy is that which flows out of us under pressure when we are indwelled and empowered by the Spirit. Instead of being the least likely response when the pressure is on, it is the most likely. When Joy is not "happiness," it is not some contrived silliness or fake smile. Joy is a deep and abiding peace that rests and rejoices in God no matter what. You may have known that, too.
But how do we get there? If we look at the life of Jesus, we see biblical joy. We can see many pressure points in the life of Jesus but none more intense than the place called Gethsemane. When Jesus prayed at Gethsemane, He deliberately chose a place called "olive press.” This was a place of immense pressure. The image of the olive press is a powerful one because the pressing of olives progressively yields different types of oil as the pressure intensifies.
In biblical times, it was required that only the very first drop of oil from the "cold press" could be used to light the Menorah in the Temple. Interesting. Then, each progressive "press" of the olives yielded a different sort of oil that had a different purpose and usefulness. As we watch Jesus in Garden, we can see the progressive pressing of His humanity and the anointing that came forth.
The first anointing was the oil of intimacy with God as Jesus expressed the words, "Abba" or Papa. This was the first drop that lights the Menorah in Temple of the heart.
The second anointing was the oil of absolute faith as Jesus said: "Everything is possible for You." Jesus trusted the power of God completely.
The third anointing was the oil of passionate petition when Jesus said: "Take this cup from me.” This was the honest communication of the heart.
The fourth anointing was the oil of surrender as Jesus uttered: "Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Complete surrender to the Father and His will is the goal of every pressure point.
As Jesus left the Garden of Gethsemane and headed toward the Trial and the Cross, He had absolute peace. He had biblical joy because of the anointing on Him. He walked with confident intimacy with the Father. He walked in absolute faith. He walked, knowing that the passionate petition of His heart had been heard. He walked in complete surrender, not to His enemies but to the will of the Father. That is biblical joy.
How are you doing in your life pressure points? Are you able to count it as joy? Have you found the anointing of intimacy with the Father? Faith in His power to do anything? Passionate petition? Complete surrender? This is joy.
Lord, give me Your Joy today no matter what. No matter the pressure, may Your fruit of Joy flow out of me under the squeeze. May the Joy of the Lord be my strength. Draw me near to You in intimate trust and joyous surrender. In Jesus' name.
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