Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Enabled By Joy"

     "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

    The enabling we find in God's joy involves several aspects of His being and His working on our behalf.  First, the knowledge that joy characterizes the Lord's sensibilities constitutes the perception of Him that leads to our own capacity for rejoicing.  We must know God as He is if we are to rightly respond to Him.  The Bible declares of the Lord that "in Thy presence is fulness of joy" (Psalm 16:11).  We must therefore approach Him in the awareness of the complete contentment and satisfaction He finds in Himself, that is, in His existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  "The good pleasure of His goodness" perpetually fills and fulfills our triune Lord, and we know and relate to Him rightly only as we consciously make our approach to the God of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (II Thessalonians 1:11; I Peter 1:8).

    We also come in the faith that believes and affirms that God alone constitutes the joy of our hearts.  The prophet greatly illuminates us in this vital understanding.  

    "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield not meat. The flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakuk 3:18).  

    Conditions, circumstances, and situations do not provide our joy.  We may experience joy in them, and we must, regardless of their nature because our Lord Himself is our joy.  He made us for Himself, and having Him, we possess in all things the capacity for a heart at rest and fulfilled.  Indeed, any concept of joy that does not begin and proceed in this singular light of "God, my exceeding joy" leads us into the darkness where no true joy can be known, regardless of condition, circumstance, and situation (Psalm 43:4).

    The awareness of God as the essence of joy, along with the blessed companion truth of God as the source of our joy, strengthens us to endure and to thrive in all things.  Of the great and painfully varied sufferings experienced by believers, the Apostle Paul affirmed, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).  Such overcoming can only exist within our hearts when we realize the true Joy of our hearts.  Possessions, places, pleasures, and people don't provide our satisfaction.  They may serve as the expressions of experiencing contentment, as provided by our Lord.  But only He can dwell as the essence of joy in our innermost being.  Thus, whether in abundance or in lack, we can, we may, we must rejoice in Him.  The matter involves conviction rather than emotion.  Is our Lord who He declares Himself to be?  This is the question we must rightly answer in all things as the choice to rejoice - in the God of joy - presents itself along every pathway of our journey…

"Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say rejoice."
(Philippians 4:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
    That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(John 3:6)

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