Grace For The Journey
How joy-filled is your life right now? How would those closest to you answer this question on your behalf? The Bible teaches that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) and that joy has absolutely nothing to do with the circumstances we face in life. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) that empowers Christian believers as they go through the struggles and challenges of daily living. It is this joy that allows us to cheerfully keep our Lord’s command – “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25).
The world’s understanding of happiness is wholly different … the world’s joy is dependent upon outward circumstances. When things are going well, the worldly man is happy; when things are going badly, he is unhappy.
The joy every believer was redeemed by Christ’s precious blood to experience on a daily basis is based on priorities rooted in the word J.O.Y:
J = JESUS
O = OTHERS
Y = YOU
These are the priorities in life which will, whether we are fully conscious of it or not, determine our experience of joy in this life. Putting JESUS first in life, followed by OTHERS, followed by YOU puts you in the center of the will of God that produces the joy of the Lord, which is our strength.
We all know this by way of personal experience, don’t we? When we put Jesus first, followed by others, we experience a feeling of joy that wells up from deep within us and overflows into every area of life. This is our divine design, and when we are living according to God’s design, we experience our strength – the joy of the Lord.
The Bible says in Psalm 16:11, “You will show the path of life; in Your presenece is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
True joy – lasting joy – can only be found in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. God made us that way. We have a God-sized void inside of us that can only be filled by God if we are to experience the joy of the Lord which is our strength. Sure, we can try to fill it with other things. And we do in countless ways.
- Some use alcohol.
- Others use work.
- Still others the pleasures of this world.
But God has designed it in such a way that nothing will fill that void and satisfy us at our deepest level but Jesus.
With that truth firmly established, what follows is our next priority: our service to others. “Other” orientation is the second priority in experiencing the joy of the Lord which is our strength. Jesus demonstrated this very clearly in both His words and His live. His life was rooted in OTHERS.
Jesus says in Mark 10:34, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus came for others. Jesus lived and died for others. Jesus made it clear how His disciples will live when they are living for Him. If we are living our lives with Jesus on the throne, we will live for the good of others. We will model our Master and put others before ourselves. In doing so, we will experience the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. When we are following these two priorities in living cross-shaped lives (vertical with God and horizontal with others), the third priority naturally follows . . . YOU!
Jesus desires that we be filled with joy and He has given us the perfect prescription for making sure our cup overflows with it: JESUS . . . OTHERS . . . YOU! Now that’s a prescription that delivers on its promise every time.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”