How do I Drink the Joy of Union?

You must have a foundation that can handle the immensely incredible weight of joy God has for you. Do you want a joy that is not based on your circumstances? A joy that is not based on your performance? A joy that is not based on the doctor’s report, or the bank statement, or whether or not your co-workers like you? There is a joy that is absolutely immune to outward influences.

People email us all the time, and the number one question our ministry ever receives is this, “John, how can I experience the drunken joy of Jesus all the time?” People crave a continual, sustainable joy and fulfillment. They are made for it. But unfortunately, so many people think there is something they must do to get it. Because the church is used to selling formulas, they think there must surely be some “key” they are missing or “process” they must undergo. They think that they must fast or pray a certain way to taste the joy we are experiencing.

Also, since it is so common to make idols of ministers and put them on pedestals, some people just assume we are somehow “specially gifted” or “uniquely anointed” for this gift of joy – yet it will never be accessible to them. Both of these lines of thought are incorrect. You can’t do anything for joy, nor does it belong to the mystically elite. Only God can give you joy in Himself. And that is the whole revelation of the cross.

The Not-So-Secret Source of Joy

Here is the secret source of my joy: I simply realized that I have been crucified with Christ! Nothing strange or elusive about it whatsoever! Everything that separated me from God was abolished once and for all. No matter what I’m feeling at the moment about myself or my circumstances, this single truth trumps it all. When I wake up everyday, I just know that my old depressed self went into the grave with Jesus. It is difficult for a dead man to be worried about his bank statement or a bad doctor’s report. No circumstance can dictate my emotional state. The gospel tells me that my old critically religious self no longer exists! If I’m feeling bored with my Christian walk, the message of the gospel quickly snaps me out of that lie! My old boring self is dead. The new me is intoxicated on the wine of the new covenant. I can “reckon myself dead” with Christ … simply realize that I do not own those negative feelings any longer.

Simply stated: we drink by faith! The way you drink the wine of the new covenant is simply to believe it is flowing freely to you right now.

Live by Faith

Stop owning the sinful nature. Stop owning fearful, anxious thoughts that belonged to the past. Believe that you are in Christ and that Christ is in you. Negative or sinful feelings can come on strong … really strong! And it is impossible at times to stop them. But that does not mean that you have to agree with them or own them. Instead, agree that the old corrupted emotional life died with Christ. Now, you are a recipient of new, resurrected emotions. You are a joint participant in the emotional life of Christ.

You’ve probably heard it said before from the mouth of some grumpy preacher, “We live by faith, not by feelings!” Often their intent for saying this was to sort of quench your party – as if to say, don’t get too happy. Maybe you were having too much fun, or getting a little too excited about something … settle down! We live by truth, not by feeling!

What the grumpy preacher said was true, even if his intent was misguided. You live by faith. You live by truth, not by feelings. But the truth comes not to kill your buzz, but to enhance it! The truth is the dance floor that holds up the whole party, and Jesus is the life of the party! The truth is that you have been grafted into joy unspeakable and full of Glory. The truth is that your old addicted self was exterminated and doesn’t exist anymore. You died a real and verifiable death on Christ’s cross. The truth is that everyday for you is a new existence in Heavenly wonderland! Even the worst of external circumstances have no power to quench this factual and internal reality.

The Battle is Over

The truth is that you do not have to kill of or fight those negative emotions or sinful appetites. The truth is that the old appetites have already died. Stop trying to shadowbox something that doesn’t exist. Agree with the truth, that you are a new creation. You don’t make yourself new. Stop striving. Rest in the reality that the old you is dead and powerless. It was nailed to the tree. The new you is enthralled with the pleasures of God. The truth leaves no other option but joy.

Whether you feel it or not, you are united to Christ. Rest in that reality, and you will feel His presence. Faith comes before the feeling. And faith is simply trust. Believe that this mystical death really took place, and you will cease to act like that man who died.

Very simply, the gospel is a revelation that you have died with Him.
This article contains excerpts from John Crowder’s book: Mystical Union. Get a copy by clicking HERE.

John Crowder, 8/31/2010