God’s sons and daughters ought to be the most joyful people on earth because we have been forgiven of the terrible weight that sin brought on us.
Sometimes I am so aware of the weight of this fallen world, and though I am forgiven, the condemnation and accusation that is so prevalent because of the curse of Adam, weighs heavily on me. Most of the time though, it is because of bearing a burden for those I love who are going through a storm.
Yesterday a group of us prayed for a dear sister who had succumbed to depression because she mourned for a family member caught in the clutches of sin and sickness. According to the Bible, we are in the world, though we are not of it, so our souls feel the force of the storms of life.
Yet, the truth is that a believer has been redeemed, or bought back through the sacrifice that Jesus made at the cross, and thus is able to walk, “in the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.” So, as we get under and bear a burden for someone we must remember that underneath us are the “everlasting arms and the nail-scarred hands”; we do not bear these burdens alone.
I like the phrase, “boots on the ground”, to me that is descriptive and practical. The practical application of the Word of God as recorded in the Bible changes everything. Millions have gone to hell believing that the Bible was true, but not applying it to their everyday life.
Believing in God, i.e. believing that God is or exists, but having no relationship with Him, is religion. God is a Father, He wanted a family, that is why Jesus came to earth, and that is why He taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven”. Jesus told His disciple Thomas: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He is the true representation of the Father.
Rick Renner in his book, “Sparkling Gems from the Greek”, states that worry and anxiety about our life is sin. We make jokes about being worriers and we laugh it off as if it was nothing, and yet it is the first step on the way to depression. Which, by the way, is consuming more people everyday as they worry and are anxious about their family, their finances, their failures, not to mention the world in which we find ourselves.
The suicide rate is increasing because people cannot face life, they cannot face who they have become, they feel hopeless and alone, so they choose to murder themselves. The Bible says that there is no place in Heaven for murderers and since that is the truth then hell becomes their final destination, and that by their own hand. it is surprising how many people, claiming to be Christians, want to take their life in their own hands, all the while the Savior offers them real life and joy. How is this possible? I think the reason is because they have their priorities out of order.
Joy is found in having your priorities in order. That is to say, that when you have believed and received Jesus death, burial and resurrection for yourself, you have made his sacrifice for you personal, then you begin the pathway to joy and freedom. This walk does not come easily, it will cost you your life. Anything worthwhile costs, somethings more than others, the more value the more cost. Many are not willing to let go of their life and make the exchange necessary to walk in the joy of the Lord. It is a choice.
In the process of “working out your own salvation with fear and trembling”, you learn that Jesus must be your number one priority. He gave all and He asks you to give all. You give to receive, it is a law of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God; He looks for submission and loyalty from His subjects. This is not because He needs it, it is because we need it. He is the gate, the door, to unimaginable riches in every area.
We give Him our will and He gives us His will. We give Him our sin and He gives us His life and right way of living. We give Him our sorrow and He gives us His joy. We give Him our trouble and He gives us His peace. You cannot find this kind of deal anywhere on earth.
Next He asks us to love other people as we love ourselves. By the way, do you know that those who are “down on themselves” really love themselves more than others? It is pre-occupation with self that prevents us from fulfilling this command to put others before ourselves.
Lastly, is yourself. The command to have your priorities in order makes sense when you realize that if you don’t love yourself in the correct way, you cannot love God and you cannot love other people.
To recap: If you want to walk in the Joy of the Lord, then your priorities must be J – Jesus first O – others Y – yourself.
To paint a picture of what joy looks like……. A ship on the surface of the ocean may be experiencing a horrific storm with waves that threaten to capsize it. Meanwhile, on the ocean’s floor there is perfect calm. Happiness is like the ship on the surface, subject to storms, but joy is like the ocean floor unmoveable and quiet.
The reason why a believer can walk in joy is because he knows who he is in Jesus and he believes what he believes. Though the storms of life rage on his mind, will, emotions and affections, his spirit remains in the peace, rightness and joy of the Lord…..he believes on, he trusts in, he leans on and he rests in his God and thus all is well.
This is the song of joy that any believer in Jesus can sing…if they will.
Bless you dear reader!