Guest Post – Rev. Phil Styles serves as Lead Pastor at United Baptist Church in Minto, NB. He’s also a graduate of the Arrow Leadership Program. In the fifteen plus years I’ve known Phil, I’ve always been encouraged and challenged by his joy – whatever the circumstances. He lives and leads with a joy that’s contagious – and we wanted to share his insights with you…
Consider this verse: “You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else” (Psalm 45:7 NLT).
Now, read it again. Joy is powerful. Nehemiah says the joy of the LORD is your strength. Why do you think we need God’s joy? Let me ask it another way. What do you put in a frying pan if you want to cook eggs? Oil. When you put oil a frying pan nothing sticks to it. Likewise, we have an anointing of joy so that negativity doesn’t stick to us. It slides off!
Why the oily language? Because leaders often face negative comments or even attacks. It also happens at school, at work, at church and even in our families. Here are three insights for letting negativity slide off and for living with joy:
- Consider 2 Kings 2:23-24 where Elisha was being dishonored by some young men. They were calling him “baldy”. He prayed. Bears came out and mauled the 42 tormentors. What’s the lesson? When people dishonor you, God will take care of it. He made you! He gave you a purpose of value and dignity. And when you’re oiled up with God’s joy, the negativity doesn’t stick and justice is served by God. If you love justice, as Psalm 47:7 says, then leave it to God. Let the negative words slide off!
- What if someone close is negative about you? The application is the same – don’t let it stick to you. God has given you a purpose and you need to stick to that! As foster parents, we’ve had hurting children say painful words, like “You’re the worst parent ever!” At first, it stung – deeply. Then I learned a helpful acronym: QTIP = Quit Taking It Personally. When I got my understanding in the right place, I could bring grace and joy into complex moments. Many times, negative attacks are aimed at us, but are not about us. “QTIP”
- Hate evil. Jesus hated evil. But He brought us a message of great joy! Accusations would come and he let them slide off. But beware! When you’re tempted to join into counter gossip or back-biting, you end up being greased in the toxin of negativity. That toxin corrodes any anointing of joy we may have. Hate that evil! Jesus had purpose in his hate of evil.
Scripture says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Suffering? Endurable. Shame? Scorn it. Rewards? Guaranteed. How? With joy!
I’ve learned through time to let negative words slide off and to cling to God’s joy. I will not give negativity authority over me. I choose God’s joy! I choose God’s purpose for me, with joy. Choose God’s joy!
Pray, “Lord I love justice and hate evil. Anoint me with your oil of joy!” More Holy Spirit, more!
Please comment and share how you seek to live and lead with joy.