El Simchath Gili, God My Exceeding Joy
"Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And I will praise You on the lyre, God, my God" (Psalm 43:4 NASB).
A menagerie of life clings to the birdfeeder out the window. A chickadee makes way for the red-bellied woodpecker, and a nuthatch clings to the bottom rung of the metal feeder. I can’t help but think of the creative joy of the Lord when I admire the variety of birds outside. He is my Exceeding Joy, and watching the birds opens my heart to give thanks for his goodness.
Have you experienced exceeding joy lately? Maybe you experienced it when you watched a dream come to fruition, while belly-laughing with your best friend, or as you looked into the eyes of a precious child.
God wants us to learn to know him as our Exceeding Joy, and here is the best news: The Lord, our Exceeding Joy, has promised never to leave us or forsake us (see Deut. 31:6). This means his joy is always available to us!
Psychologists refer to joy as a supra-emotion. This means we can feel joy while also feeling other emotions. Have you ever had the unique experience of realizing that despite a difficult and emotional situation, you felt joy in tandem with the troubling emotion?
God has designed our brains to be transformed by joy. For this reason, we can experience his joy while also navigating sadness, despair, and other negative emotions. In these moments we discover that the joy of the Lord truly is our strength (see Nehemiah 8:10).
Lastly, knowing God as our Exceeding Joy is the gateway to transformation. Neuroscience shows that character is formed through attachment, not willpower. In other words, we become similar to those with whom we share deep, bonded attachments. These attachments are formed through a specific sort of interaction: Joy-filled interaction!
Knowing God as our exceeding joy enables us to form a closer attachment with him, and this attachment is the foundation for transformation in our lives!
Are you ready to break your bad habits, embrace your calling, bear the fruit of the Spirit more consistently, and carry the love of Christ into the world around you? Ask God to reveal himself as your Exceeding Joy this year. Spend five minutes every morning meditating on his goodness, his provision, and his love for you. Ask him to fill you with his joy. You will emerge transformed!
Prayer of A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) to
El Simchath Gili, God My Exceeding Joy
Adoration ~ Father, you are El Simchath Gili, God My Exceeding Joy! You are the originator of joy! You are holy, honorable, and worthy of my adoration.
Confession ~ God, I confess I sometimes expect other people, places, or things to bring me joy when I should look to you. Forgive me for the times I seek substitutions that could never satisfy my soul as only you can.
Thanksgiving ~El Simchath Gili, God My Exceeding Joy, thank you for allowing me to experience the joy of your presence as I experience life all around me. Thank you for the reminder that you are the source of my joy.
Supplication ~ Lord, may your joy always abide deep within. May my soul forever be satisfied with the joy I have from knowing you as El Simchath Gili, God My Exceeding Joy.
In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Meet Guest Blogger Stacey Pardoe
Stacey Pardoe is a writer, mother, mentor, and teacher with a degree in education. She blogs about encountering God in our ordinary moments at staceypardoe.com. Stacey is passionate about pursuing her relationship with Jesus and helping others connect with him in life-changing ways. A lover of forests and open skies, she enjoys hiking, camping, jogging, and chasing adventure with her three young children and her husband Darrell. Most of all, she is desperate to live out the love the Lord has lavished upon her and make his love known to the world.
*For more on the neuroscience of attachment, joy, and spiritual formation, check out Jim Wilder’s book Renovated.
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With EXCEEDING Joy,
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Championing women to live authentically and pursue God passionately, Patrice Burrell loves pointing others to the grace of God, rooted in the truth of scripture. Patrice is an author, life coach, and worship leader who loves practicing the presence of God in practical ways through a lifestyle anchored in spiritual disciplines. As a Bible teacher and preacher, she exhorts women to remember that their true identity is found in Christ, not culture. When not serving at her local church with the small groups and singles' ministries, Patrice enjoys visiting local Orlando attractions, going to the beach, and finding unique ways to explore her writing creativity. You can connect with Patrice on her blog,Warrior Woman Blog, on social media in her Facebook community,Warrior Women, and @patriceburrellministries on Facebook and Instagram.