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I was in my early 20s when I first experienced someone that said they didn’t care for music. I was stunned by her statement, mainly because I enjoy music so much. It not only moves my soul, but I feel it in my bones, in my hands, in my feet (though I’m not a good dancer)… throughout my entire body.

 

I remember a particular moment of firsts for me in the early 70s. I got my first ever portable radio, turned it on for the very first time, dialed it into 94.7 WZKX, and heard my first ever funk/rock song. It was “I believe in miracles” by Hot Chocolate. I didn’t say it was a good song, especially not for a 6-year-old, but it was the first song on the radio I had heard and really enjoyed. Music has been a part of my life ever since.

 

51 years later, I still love music. Someone once asked me if I would rather eat or play music. I immediately said, “Why eat when I can play music?”

I remember a particular moment of firsts for me in the early 70s. I got my first ever portable radio, turned it on for the very first time, dialed it into 94.7 WZKX, and heard my first ever funk/rock song. It was “I believe in miracles” by Hot Chocolate. I didn’t say it was a good song, especially not for a 6-year-old, but it was the first song on the radio I had heard and really enjoyed. Music has been a part of my life ever since.

 

51 years later, I still love music. Someone once asked me if I would rather eat or play music. I immediately said, “Why eat when I can play music?”

 

Music is the universal language. I’ve been in 6 countries in the world, all of which spoke a different language than English, but with my guitar and a microphone I communicated through the language of music. It was the late 90s and I was in Caracas, Venezuela, a city of 6 million people on a mission trip. We set up a flatbed trailer with drums, percussion (Latin America has amazing percussionists by the way), guitars, keyboards, tons of singers, and dancers. We knew the music would draw a crowd and soon a crowd of about 300-400 people gathered on the street. I got up and led a couple of upbeat worship songs. Then some local musicians took the stage and blew us all away with their abilities and amazing Latin beats and rhythms (at the very least, blew me away). I eased to the back of the crowd because I’m a people watcher. (My wife says I’m “judgin’.”) I just observed the people and enjoyed the music. The music was so enthralling that I didn’t really pay much attention to the scuffle that was happening behind me about 25-30 feet away. I was so focused on the music that I simply glanced at what I thought was a bunch of guys just “rough-housing” and turned my gaze back to the stage and the fabulous music. A little bit later I heard a “pop, pop” sound and stared more intently at the stage, thinking it was part of the music… until I heard the sirens.

 

“Well, I guess those guys are in trouble now,” I thought to myself. I eased back into the crowd and forgot about the situation happening behind me because I was so into the music. Later the next day, people were asking me if I had heard about the guy that got shot at our event the previous day. “No, I sure didn’t. What happened?” They proceeded to tell me about the events, and I was thinking, “Wow, that sounds a lot like what happened last night where I was only standing a mere 25-30 feet away. Hmm!”

 

Yep, that’s right. I was so into the music that I didn’t even notice somebody getting shot right behind me. Needless to say, I didn’t tell my wife about the incident until I came home to the States. My point is this: I love music. I find joy in listening, playing, creating, recording, and helping others create music almost to a fault.

 

Joy is so much more than having the right thing happen at the right time, or having everything you want, or having a “feeling” of euphoria because you are right with God. Joy is so much deeper than that. Joy is the exceedingly great cheerfulness, calm delight, and gladness. I don’t need an audience to play music. If I did, then I am a performer more than a musician. I find exceedingly great cheerfulness, calm delight, and gladness in music.

 

What do you find joy in? In this crazy, chaotic, confusing world, we need to find joy. So many of us confuse joy with happiness. Joy is deep within and doesn’t rely on circumstances and happenings to determine our level of gladness and delight. Happiness does. Happiness is dependent on having everything line up in the right order to produce a feeling that is at the very least fleeting and fading. If part of the definition of joy is calm delight, when the psalmist says to “delight yourself in the Lord…” then would it not be correct in assuming he is saying to “take joy in the Lord?” To find joy in something doesn’t mean I am finding my purpose in a thing or a doing of a thing. It simply means that I find exceedingly great gladness and delight in that.

 

As much as I love music and I take great joy in it, I absolutely know that it’s not my purpose and destiny. I could lay it down tomorrow and know I am still doing and being what and who I am in Christ. Ultimately it is “Christ in you” that is our hope, our peace, our love, and our joy.

Here are a few questions I would like for you to ask yourself. First, do you truly know what joy is? Not what I say it is or someone else says it is, but do you know for yourself? Second, what brings you joy? Riding horses, drawing, singing, rock climbing, etcetera? It could be a thousand different things. Don’t let our culture dictate to you what you should enjoy. Just because everybody else is doing it is not a reason to do it. Stop, take time, and think about things. Third, do you delight in the Lord? Do you find joy by being in His presence? We were all created to be with Him. That’s why God created Adam in the first place: to have a relationship with him. We all have this God-shaped hole and it can only be filled with Him. However, joy is never a replacement for a relationship with God. Joy is the byproduct of having a deep and intimate relationship with Him. Remember, just because you are familiar with God doesn’t mean you are intimate with Him. When you are close and intimate with Him, joy just is!

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For the last two years joy hasn’t been on most people’s mind. Why? Because they have been bombarded with literally thousands, if not millions, of sound bites, graphics, social media posts, commercials, movies, and a ton of other ways of disseminating information, ideas, and thoughts. For the most part, all of the above have been from a negative and hopeless perspective on what tomorrow holds. We as followers and image bearers of Jesus Christ have something that is so much greater than the current circumstances, as I stated earlier. We have hope, which in turn produces a joy that energizes us and gives us power to live a life that others dream and yearn for. We can give this joy away to all those that are around us, whether we deem them worthy or not. We will never run out, because He [Jesus] is the source and He has and is the endless supply. So come on, take joy in your life, and then give it away!