What’s the last thing you usually hear before a redneck dies? ‘Hey y’all – watch this!’           

Go ahead. Laugh a little. It’s good for you.

Did you know that joy and Jesus go hand in hand? You might not know it by walking into many a church, but it’s true. Joy is part of the birthright of being a Christian.

A duck walks into the drugstore and asks for a tube of ChapStick. The cashier says to the duck, ‘That’ll be $1.49’. The duck replies, ‘Put it on my bill’.

Jesus wants his followers to have joy. How do we know that? Well, first Jesus said so.

Our Lord said in John 15:10-11:“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” 

Joy is part of the birthright of being a Christian. 

Furthermore, we know God wants you to have joy in your life because joy is one of the nine fruit of the Spirit which God gives to every believer. 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) When you become a Christian and the Holy Spirit indwells your heart, seeds for each of these virtues are planted in you. And God will help each of these virtues to grow in you, if you let him.

Scientists who study human behavior will say that people’s dispositions and moods are largely innate, a product of birth and genetics. Some babies are born happy, some are born grumpy. No doubt, a good deal of who we are is a product of how God wires us.

But the good news of Christianity is that genetics is not destiny. The good news of Christianity is that by the power of Christ in us, we can change, we can alter our course, we can set sail for new horizons. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” the Bible promises (Galatians 2:20).

Thirdly, we know that God wants his people to have joy because joy is at the very heart of God’s nature, and we are created in his image. 

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” 

The good news of Christianity is that genetics is not destiny.

If you could lock eyes with Jesus right how, what expression do you imagine would be on his face?  If many a Christian were to honestly answer that question, they would imagine God frowning at them, or worse shaking his head in disgust, or worst of all, angry on the verge of banishing them from his sight.

But Zephaniah says that God takes great delight in you, and – imagine this! – sings over you. You say, “But I’m such an idiot. I blow it time and time again. If I am one of his sheep, then I must be the blackest sheep in the herd.” But this is where you’re getting it all mixed up.

God knows all this about you and me already. God knows that the infection of sin is in us, and he knows that getting it out is going to be a long, hard struggle. What do you think the Cross of Jesus Christ is all about anyway? 

It’s God being angry at me, you say.

But you’re wrong. It’s about God being angry at sin, and at Satan, but not you. “For God so loved the world that he gave his son.”

Let your mind chew on this one – it wasn’t just God’s wrath and anger at sin that sent Jesus to the cross. It was love and joy for you and me.

The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus, “for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame.” (12:2).

What joy could Jesus possibly feel in the thought of going to the cross? you ask. The joy of you being forgiven, cleansed, made new by his sacrifice, and adopted into God’s family, never to be lost again. That joy.

So reach out to Jesus right this minute. Receive his forgiveness and love afresh, and ask him right now, “Lord Jesus, fill my heart with your joy today.”