Doused in Joy

There are days when one is overwhelmingly overcome with joy. Nothing can hold you back! I had one of those earlier this week.

On those days, every slice of nature becomes a loud billboard for his power and a beautiful picture of his constant provision. Every person seen that day stands as a testament to God’s glory.

It’s a day of true thankfulness, and any thing taken in by the eyes, ears, or mind gets swept up in a basket of gratefulness with each remembrance of God’s grace.

But does it stop there? Have you ever seen someone receive a gift from a friend and thank the gift itself? Of course not! No thing stands as an end in itself; instead, every atom of creation is an arrow pointing back to Jesus and what he did on the cross. His loving sacrifice changed everything, and because God decided to lovingly come into human history, the concept of life has an inexplicable depth to us as Christians. Witnessing life around us reminds us when true life was given to us in the life of Christ. His justifying death and powerful resurrection consume the mind and are the reason for rejoicing, especially on this day of jubilee.

If all of these arrows point directly back to God, then we know that joy comes directly from God. Scripture backs this up, too (Psalm 16:11, Jeremiah 15:16, 1 Peter 1:8).

Yet, I am deeply saddened over the fact that those days of indescribable happiness do not occur all the time, for I firmly believe it’s God’s desire that we experience them as often as possible. Even as his kids, though, Christians try to appease themselves with Earthly things, like food, their bodies, etc. And when those things don’t satisfy, they stay in the same aisle looking for more rather than changing aisles (or grocery stores, for that matter) completely.

In retrospect, is there ever a time when all of creation does not give face to God? From Romans 1 we know better, but in our broken world, sin mars everything. We let our sin take the steering wheel of our lives, and we forget the promises of God.

Since preaching the Gospel is essentially digging up the past, I think a lot of the problems here are with our thoughts.

Taking a step back in time, the ancient Israelites were told to build various monuments and celebrate various feasts annually so they wouldn’t forget that God gave them life by redeeming out of Egyptian slavery. In remembering God’s faithfulness throughout their lives, God made their joy complete (Deuteronomy 16:15-17, for example).

But the mere reminders were not enough, just as our personal appeases aren’t, either. So Jesus came right in the middle of humanity’s wreck and opened up the straight path to God. In so doing, he promised us a daily guide, the Holy Spirit, which every Christian now has. Check out these verses:

Romans 8:5 – “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (emphasis added)

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (emphasis added)

We need this Guide, because human effort doesn’t suffice. Depending on God the Holy Spirit daily frees us from sin and pushes our mind back to God. So it’s time to turn away, to repent from our Earthly indulgences we hold onto so tightly. Deep down we know they are not enough, because we are ready to admit all our days are not filled with that “inexpressible joy” (1 Peter 1:8) we can only get from our Heavenly Father, who desires to pour it out richly on us through his Son, Jesus Christ. How different will your life look to get where God wants you?

Again I say, let’s repent and let go. Jesus died to show us the joy of God and the size of his plans for your life. Those days of immense joy will come more frequently the more we set our minds on Christ.

Have you ever had days of ridiculous joy? What do you do on days like that? What holds you back from Spirit-filled joy?

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3 thoughts on “Doused in Joy

  1. Pingback: Resources for Deuteronomy 16:15 - 17

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