My, Devotion to Him #315
Something from our last devotional I wanted to base on again. The Bible speaks of joy throughout its pages, and God is of such a nature that He wants us to have and experience the fullness of it. I suspect that we have to break this word down beyond its simple three letters to actually understand what it is and how we apply it in our life.
Joy definition: The feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Spiritual joy is a consistent source that allows us to be in a constant state due to its eternal aspects.
Trials or any event in our life can produce sorrow, hurt, and grief as they are natural human reactions to such occurrences. Even though they are natural and understandable things to go through, we are still allowed to have joy flowing inside of us while we find ourselves in some of our darkest days.
James 1:2-18 reveals that even in our worst times, we can still seek and receive help from God and feel that joy illuminating within.
Something has gone wrong within Christianity in some areas (various churches or people through Christianity as a whole) because joy seems to be something that is not connected strongly enough to Jesus. If we were the followers of Him, then we’d want to emulate Him as well. However, I find that Jesus is seen as the man who argued with leaders, man-handled demons, and was burdened with the fact that He would face a beating that would go down as the worst in history. Maybe that’s why we find so many frowners, grumps, gloomy, humorless, miserable Christians…… I have no idea. What I do know is they’ve missed Jesus. Yes, He was those things, but He was so much more than that.
The picture of Christ as a less-than-joyous man makes no sense. Children loved Him and were comfortable around Him, which to me says plenty. Because kids are perfect indicators of what other people are putting into the world. They don’t hang around those who suck up all the happiness from a room. So why should we act in such a manner? A lot of soul searching will be on some people’s horizons, and I’m sure I’ll feel the eyes on me after this one. We continue onward. The crowds followed Jesus, women adored Him, and men laid down their lives even after His death, resurrection, and ascension. I don’t see how there is a way for Christ to not be a man of humor, play, laughter, and above all things, joyous.
Verse Passage: John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” – ESV
His food (a nutritional substance to maintain life and growth) was doing God’s will. This is where His energy came from. His pleasure and satisfaction came from serving His Father.
Verse Passage: Hebrews 10:9 “Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.” – NIV
Joy in serving others – Joy in pleasing His Father – Joy in doing God’s will
How do so many of us miss this?
The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son all provide insight into the heart of God, which in turn reveals the nature of Christ. It is a heart that celebrates and overflows with joy.
The Bible is filled with many people throughout history who lived joy-filled lives and spent their days being joyful (rejoicing) for the life they lived and what God has done.
Verse Passage: Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – NIV
The Bible calls those who are “cheerful” (those with joy) to be like ones with good medicine. Not just regular medication but the good kind. You know, the one that actually works and does what it’s supposed to.
Joy is not some gift we go out in search of. It is a fruit of the Spirit and one in which we should produce as Christians. Those who are soul-winning, gospel-spreading, blood-bought, sin-washed, forgiven sinners, and sanctified saints should have joy! They should be happy, glad, delighted, excited, cheerful, and merry. We should not be crushed in spirit nor dead trees of sadness, hoping for the Lord to come while refusing to produce the fruits of His Spirit. Instead, the Lord says, “you will know them by their fruit.” Now does this mean you must walk around all day long, skipping and singing bible verses to show how happy you are? No. But, we should be more optimistic than those who live for the world. How can they know us by our fruit if they are producing better fruit than we are? Who can see that Jesus has given us something incomparable? We are the ones who have been washed by Him and forgiven of our sins. We are the ones who have been called to spread the gospel and invite others to experience Christ like we have, but who will come when they cannot see the difference in fruit?
Verse Passage: Philippians 4:4-9 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – ESV
Worry about nothing & Pray about everything! How can this be accomplished?
Rejoice (verse 4)
Relax (verse 5)
Rest (verse 7)
Worry forces us to focus on all the wrong things.
Paul goes on further and says, “For I have learned” (verse 11). This is not something you just know immediately. When we have learned something, we have spent time studying or putting it into practice.
What did he learn? If you read on, you will see Paul says, “being content in any and every situation.”
Content definition: In a state of peaceful happiness, a state of satisfaction, being happy with what you have, who you are, and where you are. It is respecting the reality of the present. To appreciate life at the moment.
Such a simple discovery could yield such greatness and help us where we are in life. We can see that the joy of the Lord is the answer to living a meaningful life.
Copyright © 2023 by Jacob Olinger