For the Joy

 

for-the-joyPsalm 89:14-17 (NLT) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants. Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness.  You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.

George Orwell said, “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” We must learn to accept and reject certain things in our life to maintain our emotional state of wellbeing. Those who allow their circumstances, situation or current condition to touch that part of our heart where happiness lives will never be satisfied. Life is hard. It is not fair. Society is perverse and twisted. It is heart wrenching to read the news. How do I keep happiness in my heart when it keeps being broken? How do I maintain joy when there is so much pain and suffering all around? To remain constant in the Lord by faith will produce joy in us that is not impacted by trials but maintained by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who produces real joy in our life. (Galatians 5:22)

Bitterness is a root that chokes our spirit and crushes the human soul. The idea or thought that captures our heart and begins to overtake the seeds of life sown in the Spirit. Hurt left unhealed. Offense allowed to survive. Doubt not dealt with turns to disbelief and suddenly we become discouraged. Where is God? When darkness compromises the Light in our life, it is not because the Light has somehow moved like the sun setting, but rather we have moved away from it. Sin will create darkness in a once illuminated life. How do we combat it? Perseverance takes its toll even on the strongest Christian and most dedicated follower of Jesus Christ.

“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!” (Psalm 42:4) David goes on to say, “Why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? Then He bounces back with a solution, “I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again My Savior and My God!” We all can get discouraged. It is hard not to be. The state of affairs whispers, “He is coming!” but still produce tragic circumstances as the earth quakes at His Close Proximity. Jesus is coming! I am happy that He is! Lord, help me to live for the joy!

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Throne of God. He earned this position because “for the joy” that was set before Him endured the Cross. Any idea what that joy was? You and me. He looked past the torture and complete disrespect to see us and decided it was worth putting down His Crown and taking up the Cross. Thank you Jesus that you thought I was worth it! In Psalm 89, it says that the foundation of His Throne are righteousness and justice. Both are big problems for people due to inherited sin and the fact that God is Sovereign. Let’s talk about that for a minute. We do not understand the concept of a Sovereign God because we live in polluted justice. There is no one who is righteous other than Lord. We have never encountered such a presence therefore do not understand the gravity of our situation. God does not consume us because He is mad at us or hates us. It is the sin that causes our destruction because God is that good. He does not lie or change His Mind, but if I do it causes a problem because He cannot change. He is absolute and constant. Take that in for a moment.

God has a plan and purpose for our life. (Jeremiah 29:11) We can only obtain it by seeking Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) To do so required Grace from God because He could not give up His Perfection. The foundation of His Throne are still righteousness and justice which will never change but we can change because there are attendants around the Throne called unfailing love and truth. Unfailing love says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I have been given His Unfailing Love accompanied by His Grace. The Truth is that God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son that we would not die in His Presence but have everlasting life. There should be joy the fact that I will not die but live eternally. Where is my joy? Why do I get discouraged? When I move from the Presence of God, I feel the separation from the Source of Life. I cannot be righteous or get justice because I am a sinner. God hates sin. I need His Unfailing Love and the Truth to prevail in my life to allow His Spirit to produce joy and happiness in my life that is not conditional. To live in the Presence of God allows me to look beyond this life – for the joy set before me.

Proverbs 3:13-18 (NKJV) Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain  than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.

Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who came to bring us unfailing love and truth. Truth is the Word of God. The Word formed the world. The Word is wisdom. We must find wisdom to be happy. Worldly wisdom is the truth according to sin that always leads to death. The introduction of Jesus Christ gives us new truth. New wisdom. New understanding. When we try to fill our old life and way of doing things with new truth, it bursts like an old wineskin. We must put on new ideas, habits, attitudes and actions to accept happiness in our life and allow the Holy Spirit to do His Work producing joy. Joy and happiness are not a way of life but only found in the Source of Life. We must take our expectations from this life and put them in everlasting life.

To know God is to love God. To know Jesus is to desire the Lord. The more I know Him – the more I want to know. Faith is like riding a bicycle. At first, there are training wheels. We ride up and down the road without a care in the world because we know there is extra support that will keep us from falling. But then comes the day when it is time to learn to ride the same bike without the comfortable assistance that we have become accustomed to. We must learn to keep going on just two wheels. I still remember my dad teaching me to ride a bike. We lived in North Carolina and I was maybe six years old. There was a dirt road behind our house that sloped downhill. His brilliant idea was to put me at the top of the path and let the momentum carry me down sure that I would not fall. Well, he didn’t consider that I may not be able to stop the bike. What a scary ride! What a dramatic ending! Faith feels like that sometimes. I didn’t want my training wheels off and cried when dad took them off. But can you imagine how ridiculous it might be for a grown person to be riding around with training wheels. We walk with them sometimes.

I Peter 1:7-9 (NLT) These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Inexpressible joy is found in faith. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Our decision to love and trust the Lord in all things allows His Spirit to produce this joy that cannot be described in our life. But like the child who likes keeping those training wheels rather than risking a fall, we do not take the steps according to our purpose in fear of failure. Faith is tried and tested. As we learn to love and trust Jesus, we begin to live by faith and not by sight. This perspective begins to produce happiness and joy in our life. The kind of joy and happiness that is not impacted by ordinary life but based solely on the unfailing love and truth who is Jesus Christ. We have been given a gift that can be opened daily in our life. We can choose joy by choosing to trust the Lord. We can live a happy life in the most devastating circumstances by believing the Word of God and not the opinion of man. I can trust the Lord because God is Sovereign. He is constant. He remains the same. He cannot lie or change His Mind or God wouldn’t be God. I can put my whole life in His Hands and in return, He fills my life with joy!

Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

Create in me a clean heart. Why do you think it says “create” in me a clean heart? It is only through repentance that we can have a pure heart. I need Jesus to scrub my heart each and every day. To remove every impure thing that keeps me from coming to the Throne of God boldly. His Grace is enough for me. I need the Word of God to renew my spirit – to feed and nourish my soul so I can remain steadfast and loyal in my pursuit of the Lord. I need the Holy Spirit to produce inexpressible joy and complete happiness as He satisfies my life with all the good things that God has in store for me. I am ready to receive the Joy of the Lord when I start each day this way.

Do you need the Lord to restore the joy of salvation today? Does happiness escape you in the midst of trials and temptation? Every single morning the Lord leaves you new mercy in the hope that you will take full advantage of His Gift. He wants to wash your heart, rejuvenate your spirit and stir up the Holy Spirit in you. Do you want Him to? We cannot have the joy of the Lord and prevailing peace any other way but to live in Jesus Christ! It is just not possible. To accept anything less is a tragedy. We choose happiness. We decide to have joy. It is released in our commitment, obedience and devotion to Jesus Christ. He gives it to us freely. He applies it to our life generously. If we do not have it, maybe we just need to move a little closer. We find joy when we find ourselves in His Presence basking in the Light of His Love. The Lord invites us to come to Him today. He will never pull us or shove us into His Glory and Goodness but whispers our name day by day. Those who answer the call to worship will find true happiness and inexpressible joy!

Lamentations 3:21-23 (NLT) Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.

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