Friday, June 28, 2013

Learning Joy

Wanna know my favorite thing about joy? That it comes from God. Not from circumstances, not from possessions, not from people. Which means that mere circumstances, possessions (or lack thereof) and people CAN’T take joy away.
It is a fruit produced when living in the Spirit. It is a gift given by God.

I met a lady recently who didn’t have much in this life, except for the beautiful hope of salvation in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Even without the best circumstances or possessions, she had a remarkably sincere, peaceful joy that I’ve been struggling in prayer to ask for since I met her.
She is a perfect example of what Paul prays in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” She was abounding, and I long to abound as well.

Here’s what I know and believe and am asking for faith to believe more and more:
That my dear Savior, Jesus has called me to abide in His love by obeying His commands, and promises that His joy will be in me and my joy will be full. (From John 15)

This means that wherever I am, with whatever and whomever, when I am abiding in Him, I will experience the joy I’m called to have in Phil 4:4- “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” How beautiful is that?

This Summer, I believe I’ve been tested/am being tested to reveal if I have this abiding joy all the way to the deepest part of my soul- not just knowledge about it in my head and a mouth that says I believe it. Some of the tests, I’ve passed. Others, I’ve needed to heart-check and retake. God is refining me.

God has called me to participate in wonderful things for His kingdom. It is my responsibility to make sure my joy is coming not from the wonderful things for God’s kingdom, but from the God who called me to those things. (So, when the wonderful things change to other wonderful things, the joy is still there... you see?!)

God is so gracious and faithful to me as I learn and relearn truths from His Word. 
I’m sure I’ll experience downhearted days every once in a while, but as I’m abiding in Jesus, there should be many, many joy-filled days for every downhearted one. 
Thank God for His provision for us:
You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Abiding in His presence,

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