I'm so thankful that my husband has prepared this 5 day devotional for you. I hope you quiet your mind enough to take in what he shares on "Joy"
As you have been learning from Michelle over the years, our health is a key part of the joy we experience. There are many factors, actually, that contribute to joy. As I have outlined in my book, I developed an acrostic to help people grow in their joy. It’s called the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan.
M= Margin: Create space in our calendars to slow down and think intentionally and strategically about where we are going with our lives… and then make the hard choices and proper adjustments
A = Abide: Use a portion of that extra space to spend more time with God and His Word so that our thinking becomes intuitively aligned with His thinking.
S = Self-Awareness: Be brutally honest with ourselves about our strengths, weaknesses, dreams, motivations, fears, and brokenness.
T= Treasure: Manage our money with a biblical perspective of how money flows, how God provides it, and how it’s all His anyway; and Temple: Care for our bodies so that we can be healthy enough to distribute God’s love to the rest of the world.
E= Engage: Engage in our Calling by applying our talents to the issues and causes we are passionate about.
R= Relationships: Be wise about managing relationships with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and our fellow man.
All parts of the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan are important but let’s talk about our Temples. First, some background: When Jesus ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit down to us, the Holy Spirit stopped existing just in the tabernacle and with God. He actually started to live inside the bodies of the followers of Jesus. How cool is that?! That in and of itself is cause for joy!
The Spirit is readily available to us instantaneously. God has given us a counselor, comforter, and healer as a blessing to us. But it’s also a responsibility: We are supposed to care for our bodies so that we can pass that blessing along to others. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. If we’re not doing our part to stay healthy and strong, it’s the equivalent of saying to God: “I don’t care about your gift and I don’t intend to pass it on to others.” Talk about squandering an opportunity for joy.
Another way in which our temples relate to joy can be found in the Old Testament. There are numerous references to joy in the OT that are related to feasting in celebration of some blessing from God. Great tasting food and drink are a joy. Where we get in trouble is when we feast every day. For many people who live in developed nations around the world, occasional feasting has turned into daily gluttony. And that leads to a weakened temple that is prone to illness and injury. And it dulls us to the blessings of God.
Yesterday I shared that joy is different than happiness because it isn't effected by the circumstances around us and I know it must sound like I am contradicting myself when I talk about the things we do "do" to have greater joy, so let me explain. When we are doing things like spending time with God, taking care of our body, managing our money from a Biblical perspective... they get us to a place where we are living with joy. When we consistently live with the principles of the M.A.S.T.E.R Plan we are not effected by things outside our control.
To dig deeper into this topic of joy, you can download the first 4 chapters of the book for free here. Today is the last day of the pre-order discount. Get it while you can. The official launch is tomorrow!