I have been very impacted by questions in questions in the Bible. Here are some of my favorites:
What are you doing here? (1 Kings 19:13)
Who told you that? (Genesis 3:11)
Can these bones live? (Ezekiel 37:3)
Do you want to be made well? (John 5:6)
What do you have? (2 Kings 4:2)
With these questions, God is not primarily wanting information, but He is setting the listener up for life-changing revelation.
In addition to the questions above, there are other questions God regularly asks me:
What do you need to believe to have hope in this area?
How much greatness is in the people in your life?
Who do you think you are?
Why are you not radically joyful now?
It is this last one, “Steve, Why Are You Not Radically Joyful Now?” that is impacting me now.I believe, as we dig deep into our answers, we will be set up for massive growth for our lives.
It is clear from Scripture that God wants us to experience more than just a little joy. This is illustrated by the types of adjectives used describing joy. Here are a few examples of this:
In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)
Good tidings of great joy . . . for all the people (Luke 2:10)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy (Romans 15:13)
Consider it pure joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2)
These things I say to you so that your joy might be full (John 15:11; 1 John 1:14)
Joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8)
I have found few times in my life where it is convenient to walk in this kind of joy. There always seems to be a reason to delay it. Some of these reasons are:
Unworthiness – I don’t feel I deserve to walk in joy
Perfectionism – I have to wait until things are perfect to be joyful
Non-eternity minded – focused too much on the temporal rather than the eternal
Destination disease – I am waiting for prayers to be answered to have joy
Concerning relationships – people I love are off course in their lives
Societal issues – I have concerns about the direction of my country, etc.
Fear of letting go of guilt – I am afraid if I become joyful I will stop working on important things I want to see changed in me
Judgements – I disapprove of what the people around me are doing, and I don’t want them to think they are ok
Passivity – I just let life happen to me rather than walking in intentionality and passion
Fear of getting my hopes up again – I don’t want to experience disappointment again
Ungratefulness – I am focusing on what I seemingly don’t have rather than on what I do have
Negative comparison – I see my faults more than my strengths
Victim mindset – believing someone else is responsible for my joy
Bad theology – believing God is not joyful
These are some of the main root reasons (the “why”) for my not possessing radical joy. As I face reasons like this, I am setting myself up for massive growth, and I will discover why joy is one-third of the kingdom (Romans 15:17). The kingdom will abundantly grow in me and through me as I receive God’s grace and truth for the belief systems blocking radical joy.
Years ago, I sensed the Lord say to me, “Steve, if you are not joyful now, the chances of you being joyful in the future are slim. Your lack of joy is not a circumstantial issue, but it is a YOU issue.” At first, I did not like this answer and I thought, “Well, thanks, Lord. It always seems to come back to me. You are always trying to tell me how powerful I really am.” I eventually understood what He was saying and started pursuing joy. It has been a surprising component of my spiritual growth plan.
I realize there are times where we will mourn or grieve. I do not want to imply we should not experience emotions like those, but we cannot make it a life-style as God’s joy truly is our strength.
“Why are you not radically joyful now?” This question has been so good for me, and I believe it will catapult you too into maturity and in great joy and freedom.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.