Grace For The Journey
The Bible speaks often about joy and how it is to be the mark of the Christian.
“… For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10c.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy …” Galatians 5:23
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
“Rejoice (be joyful) always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15
So the question we must ask and answer is, “Am I marked by joy?”
The Bible makes it crystal clear that joy is the mark of the child of God. In fact, a joyless Christian is an OXYMORON.
The reason I say that joy is an “inside job” is simply because . . .
It is not based on the circumstances of life.
It is based on our relationship to God.
Here is a powerful example of this truth from the Old Testament – The Bible says in Habakkuk 3:17-18, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
What we need to keep in view here is, in an agricultural economy, this is what you would call a complete disaster. Yet, in the middle of this mess, the prophet kept his eyes on God and did not let his circumstance rob him of his joy.
Let’s take a look at another powerful example of this truth from the New Testament.
The Bible says in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James is making it perfectly clear that there is purpose in our pain
That purpose is to grow us up into Christ.
Clearly Christian joy is an “inside job” …
Unrelated to what is going on around us …
Because of Who we have within us…
The Holy Spirit.
You see, the Gospel changes the orientation of our hearts. Vertically it orients us toward God and horizontally it orients us toward others. When we are working from this kind of “other-orientation,” the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, flows both to us and through us. That is the exact opposite of what painful circumstances usually does to a person … it turns them inward. The power at work in us through Gospel faith causes us to turn to God who leads us to be able to help others (2 Corinthians 1:4-5).
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.”