Mark Affleck

The Canary Died and I Should Have Seen It Coming

December 12, 2021
Spiritual Growth

This yawning morning in December has me, once again, taking my end-of-year Faith Inventory to prepare for the arrival of 2022. Bracing for the holiday crush, I am acutely aware that there are millions of Christians on planet earth who are waking up discontented, if not depressed, about their life and JOYLESS walk with Christ. That’s why checking in on our LEVEL OF JOY is the next action step in this month’s FAITH INVENTORY.
If it existed, believers in this scenario would be fans of a website called something like “LifeSwap.” Picture users reviewing flashy online profiles of “perfect” lives and then being able to select one and swap out their life. I believe there would be MILLIONS of players signing up immediately.
Our discontentment leads to wishful thinking about eliminating what we perceive to be the source of our joylessness we have at year end and will carry into the new year if not interrupted.
It could be dampened joy (if not joylessness) from our job to our spouse to our money to our looks to our friends to our faith or to…you fill in the blank. For many of these hurting souls, they are operating a “JOYLESS FACTORY” with a steady stream of trauma and pain skidding off its production line.
Since it is difficult for Satan to tempt a believer filled with GODLY JOY, we must fight back against discontentment every day by looking at everything as a possible reason to rejoice in God’s goodness.
We must be JOY SCOUTS always on the look-out! And that brings us to the canary. Here’s that story:
In the early days of coal mining, canaries with their sensitive metabolism were brought into the mines as a safety measure against carbon monoxide and methane explosions. If the birds were chirping, miners knew the air was safe. If gas levels moved into the danger zone, the canaries would go silent, wobble on their perch, and then quickly drop dead.
Our joy as a believer is just like that little bird. When our spiritual heart starts skipping beats, it is time to search for the source of our discontentment and immediately REBOOT OUR CONNECTION WITH GOD.
That’s exactly what we need to do right now—check our level of JOY–as part of our year-end Faith Inventory and preparation for 2022. 
I want to dig deep to evaluate my level of JOY in Christ. To muster the strength to challenge my initial thoughts on this to make sure I am being fully open and honest about how much joy I have in my faith walk right now.
How do you score on the end-of-year JOY TEST?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.” Proverbs 10:28

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