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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Joy is a Focus Before It's a Feeling

Steven Furtick - Joy is a Focus Before It's a Feeling

Steven Furtick - Joy is a Focus Before It's a Feeling
TOPICS: Joy, Feelings, Focus

I believe there are some things, that are destroying your joy, that you were unaware of. And James is going to teach us how to develop joy. Very different than discovering joy. Discovering joy means it's waiting somewhere, and you got to find it. It's waiting in your next career move, it's waiting in your next relationship, it's waiting somewhere you're not right now. But James is going to show us something, that may be familiar to a few of you, but it is very strange, if you consider what he's actually saying. And I wanna just read those verses, those three verses to you.

James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds". That's not where I was looking for joy, by the way. It's not what I was praying for, hoping for, asking for, believing for. Anyway, it's what the Bible says. He said "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything". I'm glad he specified, because the first thing I want to mention to you today all of these points, they kind of followed the theme of DJ. So the first one is the distinction of joy. The distinction of joy. Knowing what it really is, understanding the nature of it. And James helps us to do that first by helping us to understand, that there are trials of many kinds, that's what verse two said.

The old king James, that pastor mickey preached from, said "Diverse trials", because I have learned, that we're not all going through the same thing, but we are all going through something. And how many know, that there are as many different kinds of trials, as there are different drinks at Starbucks, as there are different colors of paint at Home Depot? I found out, that there are trials, that are associated with plenty, there are trials that are associated with poverty. I always understood the first one, because everybody understands that being broke is a battle. But management of resources can in its own way test a part of your character, that if you're not prepared to have it tested. It can create a lot more problems, than financial poverty. In fact financial riches can create relational poverty, if there is not the emotional maturity, to help us to steward with understanding what we've been given.

I'ma preach today, it's true: there's single people trials, there's married people trials. There are trials that are associated with loneliness and there are trials that are associated with companionship. There are many kinds of trials, there are many different - that's what James is saying, he's making a distinction, that there's different kinds of trials. And some of us are like: well, can I can I try a different kind of trial, like can I trade trials, like you're talking about rich people trials, I'd like to try those for a little while. You're talking about married people trials, I'd like to try, I think I'd be good at those trials, I think I'd be better prepared for those trials, but we never again after the year, that we had last year, get to associate joy with status or success, because we have now seen, that no matter how great your name is in the eyes of people, you can still want to take your very own life, because joy is not a product of what people say about you, joy is not a product of how people hold you in esteem or in disregard.

And so there's different kinds of trials added to that. Most of us don't understand the distinction between a temptation and a trial. The language that James uses in this biblical writing, the common Greek of his day, allows for both. When he says: trials of many kinds, he could just as easily be referring to economic hardship or persecution, that many of this diaspora of tribes scattered abroad, who were believers in Jesus were experiencing. Or he could be talking about temptation. And it is important to know the distinction between the kind of trials, that you will experience in your life. Otherwise you might spend years blaming the devil for your bad decisions.

There are different kinds of trials. Some of our trials are the result of evil in the world, and that results in all kinds of different warfare, that we could study for weeks about. Some of our trials are the results of things, that we did contrary to our inner wisdom. There are many different kinds of trials, and if you don't know the difference between the temptation and a trial, you will try to use the wrong tool on the trial, because when tempted, the Bible teaches, resistance. When you are tempted to step outside of the God-given means by which you've been empowered to meet your God-given desires, the strategy the, tool the technique is resistance.

When you face a trial, however, not a temptation, but a trial, often the key is not resistance, but acceptance. And this was important for me to see the distinction, because a lot of times I'm accepting what I should resist, and resisting what I should accept. It's taken me time to learn the difference, it's taken me prayer to learn the difference, it's taken the others community to learn the difference. I'm having to get into the word of God to know the difference, so that I can approach my trials with wisdom. In fact, that's what James 1:5 says, and it's connected to this passage even though I never thought. It was it says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you".

Now, if you want to flip the flow this year, just do James 1:5. Instead of asking everybody around you what you should do, start with the source, start with the solution. Quit talking about your problems with people who are powerless to fix them - it's making you feel worse, it's making them feel worse, and everybody's frustrated.

So I need the wisdom to make the distinction, to know the trial that I'm in. God, is this one, that you want me to fight or do you want me to do, what the parable said to do? One time with the weeds, that were growing up alongside, the tares and leave it alone and let you deal with it. There's a distinction, there's different kinds of trials. Some of the stuff, that I'm dealing with as a parent right now is just called puberty. You can't cast it out, you can't anoint it, you can't instruct it. It's a different kind of trial, it's just life. Some of the stuff I'm dealing with right now is a temptation. Some of it is, actually I believe, from the pit of hell. Not that the devil is like personally assigned to me, but just some stuff is evil against my purpose.

And don't give yourself too much credit, because a lot of us like to think that the devil had nothing better to do, than give us, you know, a flat tire, and I think the devil is much busier than that. I think a lot of it comes down to distinguishing the type of trial, that I'm in, which helps me to understand the distinctions between joy and pleasure. Oh, you know those little church signs they do? I think we should get one at Elevation, by the way. The church signs where they change the letters and put up little quotes? Yeah, I like those. I think we should get one. How many vote we get a church sign? Let's have our first ever church vote at Elevation. We should get a church sign, and we could put stuff up there like this.

Oh, you know those little church signs they do? I think we should get one at Elevation, by the way. The church signs where they change the letters and put up little quotes? Yeah, I like those. I think we should get one. How many vote we get a church sign? Let's have our first ever church vote at Elevation. We should get a church sign, and we could put stuff up there like this. I saw this one day. It said, "Know Jesus, know joy," but it was spelled K-N-O-W Jesus. The first one was "No Jesus…" You don't have Jesus? You don't have joy. "Know Jesus, know joy". I thought, "It's cute, but it's not true". No Jesus, no joy? There are a lot of things you can enjoy without Jesus. Krispy Kreme tastes good whether you're saved or not. My taste buds didn't get saved. It's fun to talk bad about people whether you're saved or not. The only difference is (and this is important) the quality of the joy becomes more important than the quantity of the joy.

You also hear preachers say stuff like, "God doesn't care if you're happy; he just wants to make you holy". I can't believe how many people will say "Amen" to some business like that that you would never feel about your own kid. How many parents do we have in the house? How many of you don't care if your kid is ever happy in life at all? I'm going to call Child Protective Services on y'all. You ain't no good, good father. No, he's a good Father. Good gifts. I never got that, and I never really understood the distinction between joy and happiness. There's not a difference in the biblical language. It's not different like, in English, we have for real happy, which is like dancing happy, and then in Hebrew they had happy… It's the same word as blessed, the same word as joy. When James says, "Count it joy," he means consider yourself supremely happy. Literal translation.

So we need to make the distinction, I guess, between generic joy and Jesus joy. He said in verse 2, "Consider it pure joy…" The way my mind works, if there's such a thing as pure joy there must be another kind of joy. I kind of cheated that a little bit. It's more a grammar issue. The literal translation is "Count it all joy". He doesn't say pure joy. I have a verse for this, though. Let me do it from Hebrews, chapter 12. I've always loved this picture of joy, because it helps me to make a distinction between joy and pleasure. Pleasure can be associated with joy, but joy is not dependent on pleasure. This is the second thing I want to talk аbout: the direction of joy. We're talking about Backseat DJs. We're talking about how sometimes we find our joy controlled by circumstances and situations, but Jesus gives us a picture that stands contrary to the cultural expectation of joy.

I promise I'll read the Scripture in a minute, but I just want to tell you so much I don't know where to start, where to stop. It's all in me today. There seems to be right now, more than there was when my grandparents were 30 and 40, a pressure for us to always feel pleasure. It's no longer just a desire we have, that we want to feel good. It's almost like the way social media has constructed our viewing experiences of other people's lives through the filters of their most desirable moments, there is something wrong with me if I am not constantly happy all the time. That's a problem with me, because I am not genetically predisposed to be happy. I'm just not. I found that out about myself early in life. I am not like one of you who just finds reasons to smell roses, who just finds reasons to be happy.

Some of y'all appreciate the rain and appreciate the sunshine. The rain makes you feel relaxed; the sunshine makes you feel active. You can find the joy in everything. I am not of your species, and frankly, you make me sick, but joy is something different. The pressure to feel pleasure is part of the reason we feel so miserable.

Now we are living in the midst of a generation that thinks joy is associated with a feeling in your flesh. It can be, but it doesn't have to be. It's important that I say it can bring a feeling, but it doesn't start with a feeling. This is where we flip the flow. Can we flip the flow? If anybody flipped the flow, it was Jesus. Here he is up on a cross. Here he is mocked, and his reputation is beyond repair. Here he is being spat on and condescended to by the ones he created. The writer of Hebrews, whoever he was, says (Hebrews 12:2), "We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter…" Or the "author and finisher". Either translation is acceptable. "…of our faith". Hmm. "For the joy set before him he endured the cross…"

Now this is where my message really happens. What have you set before you? That is what your joy is connected to: what you have set before you. I'll break that down the best I can. Joy is a point of view. Joy is a way of looking at things. This helps me. I don't know about you, but it sets me free from feeling the need to feel a certain way. We have so many people quitting their jobs because they're unhappy, not really understanding that sometimes joy is not the absence of sadness or the presence of the spectacular. All we need to look at is that one verse where it says that Jesus, for the joy that was set before him… I want to use that as a picture for a moment. He set joy before him.

In order to endure the cross… That's the next part: "…endured the cross, scorning its shame…" He didn't find joy in the event; he found joy in the guaranteed outcome of the event. He did not find joy in the feeling of hanging on the cross. It wasn't like because he was the Son of God the nails transcended the laws of pain and the material laws of the universe. It was just as painful, but because of purpose… You understand it's very different to go through pain with purpose than pain without purpose.

It's the difference between Graham jumping on my back (he's only 90 pounds) and me not knowing he's going to jump on my back and me feeling like every disc in my lower back just slipped, like I'm 73 years old, and me putting 90 pounds on a bar to squat it. If I do it on purpose, it's a warm-up weight. If I don't expect it, it might take me down to the ground. Same weight, but one I was ready for. When Jesus hung on the cross, he wasn't surprised by the shame. He wasn't surprised by the suffering. He wasn't surprised by the pain. He wasn't surprised by the jeering. He wasn't surprised by their saliva. He wasn't surprised by the blood. Joy is a focus before it's a feeling.
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