Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart
On one of my first mission trips in high school I learned that song. Here are few snippets of the lyrics in case you don’t know it and a link to listen:
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…
I’m so happy, so very happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart…
I’ve got the peace that passes understanding way down in the depths of my heart!
I know as a 14 year old there was no way I completely understood all that those words truly mean. It’s as I’ve experienced life as a fully devoted Christ follower that these words have settled into my heart with true meaning.
In our current teaching series on Revelations, Bob discussed how the church in Ephesus had lost it’s first love, that being Christ.
“You have forsaken your first love.” Revelation 2: 4
Bob reminded us of the feelings we had the first time we sang Amazing Grace that left us in tears. I don’t recall the first time I cried over the lyrics, but it happens almost every time. When our boys were little I would sing Amazing Grace to them at bedtime. I would reach far back into my noggin to get all of the lyrics to each stanza. I wanted them to rest in His amazing grace (and to fall asleep fast because of my singing). A four year old Nathan took over singing Amazing Grace at my grandmother’s funeral, leaving everyone in tears. His sweet angelic voice held those words in his heart for just the right time.
I have cried over just about every song used in worship, just ask my husband. Most of the time, those tears are tears of gratitude and love for all He has done. Often, they are tears of heartache and pain that I know He has or will redeem. And on many occasions, those are tears of joy with the knowledge of Christ or of experiencing worship with someone else as was the case this past Sunday watching our middle and high school students fully engaged in worship. There’s truly nothing like it.
But I want every moment of worship, be it quietly reading my Bible or jumping up and down singing in Mexico or dancing in the car, to be a moment where I am reminded of my first real love of Christ. I don’t want to become like some in Ephesus who neglected their first love, I want His love to exude from me. I want to be reminded of being 14 singing about the joy deep down in my heart that satan can’t touch. I don’t want to lose my first love or become stagnant in my faith or my worship.
To do this, I must set aside anything that would distract me from Him and His plans for me. That means letting go of everything to be held in His arms. And gosh, that can be frightening, we like to hold onto our stuff. I’ve learned the tighter I hold onto my stuff the harder it is for Jesus to hold onto me.
Friends, I challenge you to let it go-whatever it is that’s holding you back from your first love. I challenge you to lift your arms in worship. I challenge you to let the tears fall, let the smiles reign, let the joy rest deep down in your heart.