Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Joy to the World!

This past Sunday we lit the 3rd candle of Advent- the candle of Joy!

I began to reflect on what brings joy - real, lasting joy - to a heart. 

Joy is not happiness and happiness is not joy. 
Joy originates from faith, for joy is the very essence of faith. 
Joy is lasting; happiness is temporal. 
Joy is rooted in our faith; happiness is rooted in the moment, a fleeting moment.
Joy, true joy focuses on Jesus and who He is; happiness focuses on self.
True joy is based on the Good News of the Gospel. 
The Good News that the baby who was born in a manger grew to become a man who would take my place on the cross and die for my sins - for your sins - and then was resurrected to take His place at the right hand of God, ever making intercession on my behalf! 
The Good News that I don't have to suffer the punishment of death and hell because my debt has been paid in full! 
The Good News that I can live in the Kingdom of God here on earth! 
"And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
Luke 2:10-12
Joy comes as a result of walking with God, being in a relationship with Him.  It's based on who He is in our lives.  I can be very unhappy, but still have the joy of the Lord because I trust in Him and who He is in my life.  My joy is not dependent on my circumstances because He is Lord of all my circumstances.  He knows my circumstances, He cares about my circumstances and He is always working in and through my circumstances.
The Bible tells me in Nehemiah 8:10 - "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength."  When my joy is rooted in Him, I am strong in Him and the power of His might and the knowledge that He is worthy to be trusted in my life.
Joy causes my heart to sing!  Joy brings a peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of unpeaceful situations.  Joy springs up at the remembrance of my Savior!  St. Augustine said, "No man can live without joy."  It is a sad heart indeed that has no joy!
Happiness is fleeting at best.  It is based on the outcome of certain situations and circumstances in our lives.  Or it is based on whether a certain person loves us or is good to us.  It is based on things - "if I only had this one thing, I could be truly happy."  But the happiness diminshes as the "thing" grows old and then we go in search of the next "thing" that will makes us "truly happy."
The apostle John said, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."  1 John 1:4
Our fellowship with the Father and his Son, Jesus, brings us full, true joy!!
The only thing that can kill my joy is - myself;
my self - the self that refuses to believe the Word of God;
the self that seeks to perform,
the self that seeks to be perfect,
the self that hurries, scurries and tries to fill up with all things temporal because I can't seem to believe that I am loved just for who I am and not for what I do or do not do!
This Advent Season open wide your hands and heart to receive the message of the Gospel - the Good News - open wide your hands and heart to receive the hope, peace and joy that the birth and ultimate death and resurrection of Jesus brings to us.
Let earth receive her King!!

No comments:

Post a Comment