Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 115 - A Joyful Life
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #115 – A Joyful Life
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together as we live with purposed eternal perspective.
Thirteen years ago I faced my biggest fear. I lost a child. When my oldest daughter died, the life I knew ended. Dreams died. My future was forever altered. Our family would never be the same. I don’t know if it is really what the end of life is like, but when I hear stories of how your life supposedly flashes before you, it makes sense. Once the initial news and notifications to loved ones was over, like a slideshow, memories of my first baby rolled through my mind, especially when I tried to sleep.
Before that moment, I lived in a safe world. Although I had experienced hardships and trials, I had never lost one of my children. Losing a child was a trauma I had seen others experience and it broke my heart to see families suffer in this way. I never wanted to be part of “that club.” Before heartbreak that deep, I naively thought I would go before my children, in fact, I expected it.
When I hadn’t yet dealt with loss that severe, I still lived untouched in the bubble that floats just above the grief of others, bouncing down to feel their pain and minister to them, but light enough to flutter back to safety. After my bubble burst and I landed on the path of grief so deep and heavy I had to remind myself to breathe, I knew I was experiencing God in a profound way I didn’t know existed.
I often explain it by saying God lifted the veil. The Lord became flesh and carried me. What my heart had trusted became the hope that proved it could lead me in ways I never needed before. Faith became sight.
Psalm 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.”
Because people know of my loss, I am often asked how I find joy in life, despite circumstances.
Psalm 30:5b says, “Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Each of us experience pain. What we grieve from or suffer as loss cannot be measured by another because we are individual and no experience is the same. Yet, because God has gifted most of us with the beautiful qualities of empathy and sympathy, we can unite with another, bringing comfort or happiness for a time, but we cannot give a joy that lasts.
God alone is the founder and giver of deep joy. Far different than what the world seeks and calls happiness, joy reaches to the deepest region of our soul and cannot be shaken by anything we encounter in this world. Happiness is fleeting like the feeling you get when you receive a gift, eat a special treat, or experience the vacation of a lifetime.
Joy comes from a peace and trust rooted by Christ and growing within a maturing believer as we experience the fullness of the power of God. Acts 14:22b says, “They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus taught His disciples that there are 8 characteristics which describe the inner joy of one who truly follows Him.
We find them in Matthew 5:3-10, which says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What are the 8 characteristics that Jesus says bring joy?
Let’s look more closely at the verses I read and examine them with a heart for eternity.
1. Humility - Matthew 5:3 says the poor in spirit. Let’s define poor in spirit. The poor in spirit doesn’t mean one habitually depressed or mopey as it may sound, but one who is humble. When our heart recognizes our spiritual need for our Heavenly Father and we seek Him above self or anything found in this world, the Holy Spirit does a great work within us, allowing us the ability to find pure joy through Him.
2. Grieving - Matthew 5:4 says the ones who mourn. When this world crushes us with pain or grief, those who mourn can find solace through Jesus. In Greek, the word comforted is also used to describe the Holy Spirit’s miraculous ministry in our life, the only practice that brings lasting joy through pain. Jesus is absolutely everything He says, and that the Word of God proclaims. When I was in need of deep comfort, He never failed me. I made sure I stayed near to Him, drawing as close as I could, asking for His care, and the Lord ministered to me in intimate ways specifically tailored to my needs. He does the same for each of us.
3. Meekness - Matthew 5:5 says those who are meek. It has been said that meekness is not weakness, but power under control. In my experience, this can only be secured through allowing the Holy Spirit to mold and transform me moment by moment. By trusting in Jesus, meekness brings humility to the forefront of our mind and spirit and fills us with a joy that surpasses human understanding as He works in and through us.
4. Holiness - Matthew 5:6 says those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. As shown in Psalm 16:11, which says, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; In thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” When we seek the presence of God and delight in what He calls justice or holy, we find true fullness of joy.
5. Mercifulness - Matthew 5:7 says those who are merciful. Through the power of the Holy Spirit within a believer, we find a holy ability to offer compassionate, cheerful, constructive love to those who suffer and receive deep joy in return as Christ works through us.
6. Purity - Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart. Only Jesus within us in the form of the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to desire and form holy thoughts and motives. Scripture teaches us that those who live with pure hearts receive the blessing of deep and lasting joy from Christ.
7. Mediator - Matthew 5:9 says those who are peacemakers. The word peacemakers comes from a verb meaning “to join together.” Imagine two opposing forces being reconciled, coming together as one, and we better understand the way a peacemaker completes his work. As we help others reconcile with God, our Father, we experience massive joy and holy exultation deep within our spirit.
8. Persecution - Matthew 5:10 says those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. No one desires suffering, especially not punishment for living a righteous life connected to Christ. Jesus assured us that when we remain steadfast and loyal to Him, even when we are persecuted for our faith, He will reward with a great and joyful blessing.
Connecting our mindset and heartset to Jesus, His view of life, and of this world frees us from the burdens that drag us from Him and equip us with His joy as we rest in His arms. We see and experience life differently and live in expectation for eternity with Him.
Joy is a choice. Why? Because we must each choose to allow Christ to work within us. We must choose to live in the ways He calls, trusting that He is good and He is right. Joy visits when our spirit seeks Him and the ground is fertile for joy to erupt and mature.
Keep pursuing your walk with God through Jesus. Only He has the power to transform lives. He is the One who meets every need we are searching for. He alone gives permanent joy in place of fleeting happiness.
Happiness bursts in, then seeps out; joy permanently shines from within.
Philippians 4:4-8 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be apparent to all. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.”
Jesus doesn’t promise that His joy will free us from experiencing the burdens and pains of this world. What He promises is of far greater significance. While we are in the midst of pain, He gives us a joy that allows us holy connection which carries us beyond our suffering as we keep our mind on Him. Reliance on Jesus gives hope and security even when all we love or think we must have is snatched away. His joy reminds us to focus on Him, to rely on Him, and to rejoice in Him at all times, trusting that He has a purpose for our suffering as He carries us through every storm.
When I was asked about joy after losing my daughter, I honestly didn’t even realize that joy was showing. I simply kept my eyes focused on the Lord, clinging tightly to my Lifeline. Jesus was my anchor; the foundation that kept me steady. Miraculously, the Holy Spirit worked within me when I had no energy or thoughts of the word, joy. Just as He promised, the Lord was present, moving to provide and sustain me in ways only He can promise and deliver.
John 15:9-11 says, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
Dear Gracious, Loving Heavenly Father. Just as Jesus prayed, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, we pray in Your Holy name. Allow us your mercy and joy through each moment. Happiness is fleeting, but Your joy is our sustenance. You are our strength and salvation. You are our God and we will praise You despite circumstances, expecting Your joy to carry us. We trust You, Father and know that You are good. Keep us looking to and following You. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you find value in what you hear, and you would like more information on the topic we discussed today, I invite you to listen to previous episodes. You may find them on the terrihitt.com website. Click on podcasts and type in the topic or title you wish to hear in the search bar at the top of the page.
Have you listened to my second podcast, “Purposed Parent/Connected Child” yet? I hope you will listen, follow it, and share both of my podcasts with friends or family who would like to choose Christ over culture and be a parent (or be a grandparent) who connects with eternal purpose.
Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.
I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.