One key sign of spiritual danger is losing your joy.,  Don’t skim past what Paul says at the end of Philippians 3:1, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.  to write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.”  Paul reminds them to rejoice because it is safe.    Joy is one of the vital gauges on the dashboard of the Christian life.  When the needle dips–when you lose your joy–you should take note.  To stay safe, you need to pay attention to your joy.

    Here’s an illustration.  Coal miners know that dangerous gases can gather silently and secretly in the tunnels.  Carbon monoxide will asphyxiate them.  Methane explodes.      But in the early days of coal mining, they found an effective, low-tech solution:  they brought  canaries into the mines.  A canary’s metabolism is very sensitive to air quality.   As long as the bright yellow birds chirp and sing, miners know the air is safe.  If gas levels rise, the canaries stop singing, wobble on their perch, and eventually fall to the floor of the cage.  

    Christian joy is like that singing, yellow bird.  One of the first effects of sin or doctrinal error is that we lose our joy in Christ.  When your heart stops singing, that is a warning to watch your life and doctrine closely.

John 15:10-11 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

    Don’t confuse this unique joy with other upbeat feelings.  Genuine Christian joy is not the power of positive thinking.  Joy is not a bubbly, optimistic personality.  Joy is not being happy because life is going my way.  Joy is not walking through life with a naive, glass-half-full attitude.   “The joy we have in Jesus cannot be extinguished by the circumstances of life.”  Jesus says it is my joy…in you.  Joy is the emotion of salvation.  It is the joy of seeing, knowing, loving and trusting Jesus Christ.  We cannot generate this true joy ourselves–it is the product of the Holy Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22).  Joy is a glorious gladness and deep delight in the person of Jesus Christ.

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Past Pastor Messages and Nuggets for Life