I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that I was a cheerleader. I loved the sport of cheering on a team and I loved to cheer because of the dance and athleticism. (Few people know that I also cheered semi-pro too.) But in full disclosure, I know very little about sports. I always took the cue from the cheer captain on what we needed to be rooting for. I used to think that it wasn't always important for me to know the ins and outs of what I was supporting, I just needed to do my part and cheer in support.
And I don't know about you, but I see this same thing happen today in Christianity. Many people don't know the ins and outs of how Jesus taught us to live life as a Christian, but they are just there because they've picked a side. They are ready to cheer Jesus on, but outside of "the game" (a church service) no one could ever guess what team they are rooting for.
We tend to get caught up in our own part. We focus on ourselves and the part that we play and we've become very skilled at turning it on and off. But where does that leave the team when we turn it off?
Well... as Christ followers we should never turn off our team spirit! We should always be shouting and cheering for Team Jesus, everywhere and anywhere we go! We need to rally with one another, cheer each other on in support, and encourage one another to stay strong and keep playing with confidence. It's in the cheering and in the unity that can bring joy to our hearts because our cheer is like praise and worship to the Lord.
Need more joy - start cheering! When Trumpets of Tirzah has our in-person classes (as opposed to our online classes) we play the ha-ha game. And truth be told, I actually learned that in cheerleading! It's a team building exercise where each woman lies on her back and places the back of her head on top of another woman's stomach, so there's one line of women on the floor. Then you are assigned a number and you have to say "ha" that number of times. (So for example, you have the number 3 and that would mean you have to say ha-ha-ha.) Now the truly funny part about it is that in order to say "ha", especially multiple times, you have to really use your stomach muscles which then makes the woman's head, who's on your stomach, bob up and down. And it's honestly so funny that you end up having all these women on the floor in a little zig-zag line laughing hysterically at a simple exercise. And it's so hard to actually have the entire line take a turn because the whole line just ends up laughing regardless of who's turn it is. It honestly is just so hilarious! (I hope I explained that well enough so that you can picture it. And I encourage you to take a bold step and do it at your next women's bible study night. ha ha ha)
A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face, But when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed.
We can't cheer for Jesus with joy and be sad at the same time. Just like light and darkness, they can't coexist in the same space. Want to be cheerful, then your heart needs to be full of joy. How do you have a heart full of joy? Well there's a scripture for that...
The precepts of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
When we do things the Lord's way, it brings joy to our heart. It's one of His spiritual principles. We can try to attain things with doing things our own way and/or the world's way, which might bring temporary happiness, but when we do it God's way it literally brings His joy into our hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit. And God will NOT remove His joy from us. We get to keep it! But we have to be careful not to trade the joy for happiness. We can slip out of joy when we start doing things that are not of God and they are not God's ways. We can make an exchange and give away our joy for the temporary things of this world. So we must be careful to keep doing things God's way so that we can keep our joy.
Do you need joy today? How often are you cheering for Team Jesus in a public way? Are you living life the way that Jesus modeled for us? Are you following the ways of Jesus so that it brings joy to your heart?
Sometimes we think we are doing the right things until we become a more mature believer. How do you know that you are mature believer? When you can honestly say that the more you learn about the Lord the more you realize how much more you need to learn about Him. He is deep and vast. We can barely learn a drop about Who He is in this life. Many people like to dig in their heals and believe that their ways are right, that their Christian belief is the only correct one. I see Christians on a daily basis over social media pointing out the wrongs of other Christians - which guess what, isn't biblical. It's heartbreaking at how divided we have become as a body of Christ. We aren't acting like members of the same body. We are acting like different bodies and that's not biblical. I can only imagine how heart-broken the Lord is at the state of His church today.
Praise God we are only accountable to God for ourselves and our own actions. Let's not worry about correcting others and taking on an heir of superiority, but let's cheer one another on! Let's come together as the body of Christ, look at our Bibles together, and live as actual Christ followers. Not following doctrine or denomination, just following Jesus and His example. And then as scripture tells us... we WILL have joy!
If you are a women, I invite you to come to my zoom gather next week - Women Standing with Women! CLICK HERE to register and let's get our joy on!