The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe….
"With Gladness of Heart"
Part 2 - A Glad God
"Serve the Lord with gladness" (Psalm 100:2).
How we perceive God determines everything in our lives. This must be true since we "live by faith" regarding both the beginning and continuation of our relationship with Him. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith" (Colossians 2:6-7). The heart of faith involves our perception of God. Who is He and can He be trusted? How we answer these two questions determines the strength or weakness of our relationship and fellowship with our Lord, along with our subsequent response of either faithfulness or unfaithfulness.
Regarding joy and gladness, do we perceive God in Biblical terms? Our own experience of a consistently glad heart hinges on our answer. First, let us consider the truth that God is the most emotional Being in existence. Scripture often references His feelings, be it our current consideration of gladness, or other emotional sensibilities such as affection, pleasure, sorrow, anger, satisfaction, and frustration. God feels. Moreover, as an infinite Being, His emotions doubtless transcend our own by an indescribable measure. A hint of this emotion can be found in the account of the Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane, where "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44). This rare phenomena, known as hematidrosis, results from severe stress and extreme emotion. Our Savior felt this as His prayer in Gethsemane opened the door of agony that would lead to the cross of Calvary. It also provides a portal through which we may view a glimpse of the magnitude of Divine emotion, in this case, as viewed in the humanity of Christ. "He is… a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).
Of course, God's primary emotional sensibility involves not sorrow, but joy. The existence of sin in His creation results in sadness, at least during the current epoch of time. We must not, however, think of sorrow as our Lord's primary emotional sensibility. A glad God created, sustains, and moves creation toward the ultimate fulfillment of His eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus. "In Thy presence is fullness of joy" declared the Psalmist (Psalm 16:11). David also exulted in the Holy One he described as "God, my exceeding joy" (Psalm 43:4). Certainly, our Heavenly Father presently experiences other feelings, again, due to sin and its dark ravages on the things He made. We must not, however, make the mistake of perceiving sorrow, anger, and displeasure as the primary characteristics of His emotional state. "At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" confirms David regarding our immeasurably joyful God (Psalm 16:11).
If we perceive God in this proper Biblical perspective, we will far more likely flow with the current of His gladness. As with our Lord, this does not presently preclude other less pleasurable emotions. It does, however, ensure that even in times of sorrow, a glad heart is possible through the presence and enabling of the Holy Spirit. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" testified the Apostle Paul (II Corinthians 6:10). In Part 3, we will consider this seeming enigma as it relates to our current experience in a fallen world. For now, let us simply acknowledge the blessed truth of the glad God of all things, and let us expect the realization will result in the gift of His gladness blessing our hearts with "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8).
"The joy of the Lord is your strength."
Tomorrow: Part 3 - "As Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing."
Weekly Memory Verse
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
(II Peter 3:18)