Joy (Part Two)
In obedience, we turn toward Christ and proclaim His commands are good and true. Therein lies the key to our Joy. Did you catch it?
Photo taken by Lance Cashion in downtown Hico, Texas (Old Bank Vault)
In "Joy" (Part 1), we attempted to answer three questions; What is the source of true joy? How do we lose our joy? How do we find joy again? Read Part 1 here...
In Part 2, we'll discuss what happens when we run back to the real owner of Joy (Jesus Christ).
We begin with a prayer of praise:
Heavenly Father, we praise you! For you have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into your marvelous light.” - 1 Peter 2:9
We declare Christ as Lord:
Father, You have sent our Savior, Jesus Christ, “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:15-19)
We reorient our hearts toward Christ, His Kingdom and righteousness:
We set our thoughts and hearts on things above - that which is pure, good and right.
We acknowledge our waywardness.
We admit our disordered loves…
We have sold our birthright of joy for a bowl of selfish pleasures.
We abandon our Joy in You by our disobedience.
Father, forgive us when we poorly steward your gifts and blessings to us. We are utterly helpless and full of doubt - encumbered by the cares and snares of this world and our own sin.
Lord, Thank you for the gift of Repentance! (Read my post at RevolutionOfMan.org the 6 steps of 'Repentance' here)
Turning from our sin, we turn toward God - "If we return to God, he will return to us.” (Malachi 3:7)
**Take a moment and be still before the Lord and experience his bountiful and all sufficient grace and forgiveness.**
In obedience, we bow our hearts to Christ and proclaim His commands are good and true. Therein lies the key to our Joy. Did you catch it?
"OBEDIENCE" may be the most dreaded word in all of Scripture. Perhaps, even more than God's 'wrath'. Obedience should NOT be reduced to a superficial rule or legalistic transaction. That is to miss the point and twist the purpose.
The Gospel of John 15 makes it clear:
"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (lacking nothing, complete)."
John 15:10-11 (ESV)
The New Living Translation (NLT) paraphrases the passage as follows: "When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"
What we sow in obedience, we reap in Joy!
I love this quote from GotQuestions.org; “‘Return to Me, and I will return to you’ (Micah 3:7) aligns with Christ’s instruction to ‘remain in me, and I will remain in you’ (John 15:4). How much better it is for us if we never leave Him in the first place!” (Return to me and I will return to you - GotQuestions.org?)
The essence of discipleship is obedience. Disciples obey! "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." (John 15:8-9)
Lord, help me to obey in every area of life. Obedience leads to freedom and freedom leads to joy.
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To run to Christ is to Love Christ. To love Christ is to obey Christ's commands. To obey Christ is to abide in Him! He is the owner of true, everlasting Joy.
Let this be our prayerful meditation:
- May the quietness of the Lord invade the lives of this fellowship. - May His power still our restless hearts with His love. - May our creaturely concerns and contentions be overshadowed by the Cross. - May the weight of our burdens be set aside. - May the darkness flee at the dawn of his glorious light. - May our faces feel the warmth of His Holy splendor. - May our minds be captured by His infinite majesty. - May our world be re-enchanted by awe-struck wonder. - May our domestic moments be worshipful. - May our progeny proclaim His mysteries and bow to His Lordship.
By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, what we sow in obedience, we reap in Joy. We depend and abide in you Lord. Grant us your fullness of Joy!
Additional reflection: What about Joy in the midst of sorrow?
“The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope... and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend up on it) disappoint us.”
Walter Wangerin, Jr