Monday, February 23, 2015

Joy Anyone?

See, I used to think that being passionate for God was about getting fired up for justice,
speaking truth, and walking with purpose. Of course, that facet shows us one aspect, but
it's certainly not the whole of our fire...and I would even argue, it cannot be the main motivators.
Our "fire" for God cannot be fueled by our sense of justice or even our own love for others. The energy comes from the focus of our first love;
          is HE my lover?
            Is HE pouring the overflow of
                    love, joy, peace,...
                         and thereby, everything else?

Joyful? If I'm not, then I'm missing out on something essential. I'm missing out on the focal
point of the Gospel, because joy must come and joy must abound when I see how little I
can do, how little this life can offer, and how much HE has done and how much HE has to
offer.  Then, when I speak with "fire," I am motivated by the only thing that can make all
things better, all things new, all things satisfying.


"For I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people!" (Luke 2:10 emphasis mine)

Do I understand this good news that has changed everything? Am I transformed by joy?
Sadly, this basic component of my faith seems to have atrophied. As I child, I understood joy in the Lord. Yet, guilt and responsibility have turned my grateful and playful spirit into one of a serious dictator. Have I forgotten grace?  The finger points back to me because I've duped myself into believing that my growth, my purpose, my maturity, my accomplishments all come from my efforts.  What a lie that truly is.

I Chronicles 29:14 reminds me that without God, I'm nothing and can generate nothing.  “But me—who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand. As far as you’re concerned, we’re homeless, shiftless wanderers like our ancestors, our lives mere shadows, hardly anything to us..." 

I was going through some old photos and came across this one.  When my daughter overflows with joy, she gets giggly. This picture always makes me smile because I captured that blissful spirit. Now, I'm not saying we have to laugh like buffoons to exhibit joy, but our faces should display a certain radiance that communicates peace, perspective, and contentment in Him--not anxiety, sour bitterness, and despair.

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation. ~Kay Warren

So, this is my prayer for you...and most definitely for me:
 Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Psalms 63:5-7 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Let it be so.

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