My BFF traveled to Philly this Winter to introduce her daughter to a little American history up close and personal. During her visit, she witnessed a young employee at a local store have an explosive public meltdown. This poor woman verbally vomited out her anger regarding her work schedule for everyone in the store to hear — an ugly response with a self-centered focus. The memorable part of the experience, however, was the reaction from an older lady who was diligently working to stay on task despite her young coworker’s outburst. This unflappable, wiser woman responded by shrugging her shoulders and simply stating: “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy.” Don’t you love that attitude? These two “Jesus Chicks” are adopting this statement as our battle cry theme for 2012.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT).
The word joy in verse 2 comes from the Greek word chara, which here means to rejoice with gladness of heart by focusing on the eternal reward that God has prepared for us. This sweet fruit of character is produced in us daily as we choose to focus on Christ, take up our cross, and follow Him.
As we pray and plan for 2012, what joy killers do we need to lay down so that we can be more fruitful this year? What is weighting me down that I must lay at the foot of the cross? Ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy this year, my friends. That dead weight simply must go.