Have you ever had a day when it felt like you just couldn’t catch a break? Recently, I was coming back from a trip, and when I arrived home, I realized I had left my wallet on the plane. After driving back to the airport and waiting for what felt like hours in the lost-and-found line, I was thankfully able to get my wallet back. On the drive home, as I merged onto the highway, I didn’t see a median. Thankfully, I was okay, but I totaled my car. Three and a half hours later, the tow truck showed up. It’s an understatement to say I was exhausted, frustrated, and upset.
The next day, I heard my friend Daniel Groves speak on Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the LORD is your strength” (NIV). After the night I had, this was honestly the last thing I wanted to hear, but God has a sense of humor and a purpose. Then, my morning devotion the day after was focused on the joy of the Lord as well.
Everywhere I turned, the Lord kept pointing me to where true joy is found, and I felt Him saying, “I want to fill you with My overwhelming, overflowing, and never-ending joy.”
As I was reflecting on this idea of the joy of the Lord, He put Isaiah 6:1-8 on my heart: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne… Above him were seraphim… And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips… and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand… ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
As I was meditating on these verses, I was reminded that we’re often weary because we try to do everything in our own strength. In this passage, Isaiah is a prophet of God who was tasked with speaking to the nation at a moment in history when King Uzziah died. Israel is filled with fear and uncertainty, and he’s coming into the temple empty and weary until God breaks into his life in an extraordinary way. He is overwhelmed with God’s goodness, grace, and holiness and asks God to send him. Isaiah is now operating out of the strength, power, and joy of God and the Holy Spirit, not himself. That’s what we need.
The Greek language has two words to describe time: chronos and kairos.
Chronos is the chronological or quantitative measurement of time, which is what we use more often when talking about years or days. Kairos, on the other hand, refers to a moment in time when something significant and extraordinary happens in our lives that stick to our minds and hearts forever.
There are gateways to begin experiencing kairos and live in His joy on a daily basis.
The first gateway is awareness of His presence. I know when my perspective has lost its joyfulness, my posture of seeing the Lord needs to be repositioned. Isaiah begins with chronos time as he states what year it is and where he is, and enters kairos time as he’s ushered into the glorious presence of God. The Scripture says that the whole Earth is full of His glory, meaning what you experience in kairos time is available in chronos time. The fullness of God is everywhere all the time; we just can’t see it, which is why awareness is so vital.
If awareness is the first step to feel God’s joy, the second is assessment. After being in God’s presence, Isaiah begins to search his heart and is reminded that he is “a man of unclean lips.” There is nothing that will open your eyes to who you truly are more than entering into the presence of God and allowing Him to open your spiritual eyes to see what’s inside your heart. Out of true spiritual assessments comes deep hunger for holiness.
Affirmation is another gateway to joy. Holiness in a community is found through our affirmation and love for one another. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily” (NIV). This is another example of kairos breaking into chronos time. When we are not feeling joyful, the discipline of intentionally seeking someone out and affirming them instantly changes our own demeanor and disposition, which in turn fills us with joy. So, in the midst of today, if you want to bring heaven on earth and enter the courts of praise, encourage and celebrate one another in the Lord.
The Lord is not going to cram joy into your spirit. He’s not going to make you joyful. He invites and welcomes us to receive it as a gift. My prayer is that we will be constantly aware that the presence of the Lord doesn’t just fill His courts, but that it fills the world. That He will search and assess our hearts so that He fills every part of it with a hunger for His holiness, and that doing so will produce a stream of affirmation and love for one another.
We often focus on giving thanks during this time of year, which is a beautiful and necessary practice. However, as we enjoy the Thanksgiving season, I also feel the Lord reminding His people of the importance of seeking His joy, because He has promised it to us. Like Isaiah, let’s experience the kairos time found through God’s glory in the midst of our everyday lives.