Thursday, March 31, 2016

“Joy, Always and Again”

  "Joy, Always and Again"   
    If we seek earthly happiness, our inner being will be determined by circumstances, situations, and conditions.  Conversely, if we set our sails to catch the winds of God's spiritual joy in Christ, He will govern our internal environment.

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

    The Apostle Paul's "alway and again" command, as it were, would be nonsensical if joy were not possible in all things, and at all times.  Again, we reference, as did Paul, spiritual joy rather than earthly happiness.  There is a difference.  As the old saying goes, "Happiness is based on happenings.  Joy is based on Jesus."  The former concerns primarily how we feel.  The latter references our beliefs and convictions, which may or may not coincide with our emotions.  "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" characterized Paul of the believer's capacity to know the joy of the Lord Jesus even when we feel the ache or even the break of our hearts (II Corinthians 6:10).  Indeed, the most joyful Christian on the planet at any given moment may be laughing or crying, or may seem to not feel anything at all.  He or she realizes that God's person, presence, involvement, and working on our behalf enables joy always, and as Paul commanded, joy again.

    The world, the devil, and the flesh - including perhaps our own - cry out against this frequently stated and implied Biblical truth.  Thus, we must kneel before our Lord to sacrifice the fleshly quest for earthly happiness so that we may arise to rejoice in the far greater pilgrimage of the heart: "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy" (Psalm 43:4).  Happy moments will ensue, but even if they didn't, we could still know the joy of God Himself, and of seeking the true satisfaction of knowing, loving, trusting, obeying, and honoring Him.  Joy, always and again.  Our Lord promises that such grace is given, and He calls to believe that He can enable rejoicing in all things, and at all times…

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

Weekly Memory Verse
   But why dost thou judge thy brother?  Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
(Romans 14:10-11)

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