Saturday, August 17, 2013

What True Joy Does for us

Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. –Psalm 30:4 (KJV)  

If ever there was a time when believers needed to claim the joy of the Lord the time is now. Life is difficult, and will probably become more so. The joy of the Lord empowers us to smile when we feel like frowning and to laugh when we feel like crying. Joy also helps us laugh when we feel like telling someone off. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 12:16 that a wise man overlooks an insult. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it in until afterwards.” Proverbs 31:25 speaks of the woman of God and says she is clothed with strength and dignity and she can laugh at the days to come. This is the joy of having the Lord in our hearts.

The beginning of true joy is God’s response to our cry for help. When the sinner cries, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner,” the Lord responds. He lifts us up, hears us, and heals us. One of the worst fates that could befall someone in the ancient world was to have your enemies gloating over your downfall. David praised God this did not happen to him. The last chapter of I Samuel tells of Israel’s defeat and how the Philistines took the bodies of King Saul and his sons and after they had decapitated them hung them on the walls of their capital city. This was an extreme gloating over their enemies.

When Jesus hung on the cross, the religious leaders shook their heads and said, “If you are the Son of God come down from the cross and we will believe in you (Matthew 27:40).” They also said, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself (Matthew 27:42).” Jesus’ response was to pray for them; “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).” Notice no one was gloating or laughing on the third day. The tomb was empty! Notice also after the resurrection Jesus did not go and gloat over His triumph. He could have gone to the entire Sanhedrin and said, “See, I told you; here I am.” Instead, He told us to go and tell the world that He lives. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19 to, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.”

This is our job, our task, our calling, and our goal to go and tell the world Jesus Christ lives – He is the Savior, the Son of God who died for our sins and lives again. May we not grow weary in the work we have of shining Christ’s light to a dark and hurting world that desperately needs hope.

God bless you today.