Wednesday, October 22, 2008

joy found in Jesus

It's natural for us to want to find joy in circumstances or in the good things God has created. Indeed, Scripture tells us that God fills people's hearts with joy over the blessings he pours on both the righteous and the unrighteous. And that God's goodness is meant to lead people to repentance.

But real, lasting joy, which is not dependent on circumstances- good in a fallen world- can only be found in God through Jesus Christ. Joy is found in the Lord Jesus.

Of course joy itself is not strictly speaking just being happy over circumstances. Though it includes happiness. But it's a joy that is happy because it participates in something more wonderful than anything this good, old creation has to offer. Not to denigrate or put down this old creation, because it is good, God made it, it is never to be despised, as it points us to God, and God gives us richly all things of his creation to enjoy. But we look forward to something even greater in Christ. We look forward to the redemption of the old creation into the new creation in Jesus.

This begins now, in this life, in this old creation, in Jesus. If anyone is in Christ, there is already a new creation. Here, the old creation has gone, and the new in Jesus has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). A joy which goes on, even when we are not happy and sorrowing, is found in Jesus. We need to approach life in this way, that we will find our deepest and lasting joy in the Lord. This spills over so that we more appreciate the good things of this life God has given. But it is never dependent on them, or even on good circumstances.

Yesterday at work, as I sought to slowly go over Scripture with formation and transformation as my goal, not information gathering, and as I sought by grace to live in accord with the Jesus Creed and the "Our Father" prayer, I experienced a joy which became more evident and I expressed it in song as well as in just being crazy me, while seeking to serve the Lord and others, in Jesus.

In the end in Jesus, we will be living in a glorious outpouring of love and joy, righteousness and peace. But this new life in Jesus begins now, in this old world, in the midst of our old existence with its problems, including our shortcomings and sins. Encouraging, and not dependent on how we feel or our circumstances. Easier for me to say than for many others, and only by God's grace can we experience this, but we must remember that nothing at all in this life can separate us from the love of God we find in Jesus our Lord.

What might you like to add to this?


Anonymous said...

i am glad that you explained how you were reading the word with formation and transformation as your goal in mind.

i find this something that might be helpful to think about.

Ted M. Gossard said...

That statement, which actually I picked up from Richard Foster, can be misunderstood so as to discount information. Information is given for our formation and transformation, but our understanding and our minds, are certainly a part of that process.