In part 1 of this post on JOY I mentioned that I am presently serving as the part-time teaching pastor at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta, Georgia. These last six months since losing my seminary position have been so encouraging to me. If interested, you can find my sermons on their website: http://crossroadschurchinaugusta.com/
We’re thinking a bit on the topic of JOY. The world needs to see JOYFUL followers of Jesus! This doesn’t mean that we don’t weep or mourn or grieve. But they see tangible peace and contentment in our lives regardless of the circumstances.
But there are JOY-KILLERS all around. Some that come to my mind are: constant complaining, the overbusyness of life, boredom, apathy toward those who are outside of Christ, mediocre church services, financial challenges, family tensions, etc. [I’ll bet you can add to my list if you wanted to!]
Two passages come to mind as I think about my need to
stay JOYFUL in Him. In I Peter 1 the Apostle writes, “8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Our JOY is not based on sight (we don’t see Him . . . yet!). Our love is based on faith in the Lord and what He has done for us. And we are filled with an “inexpressible and glorious JOY”! Why? Because we are receiving the salvation of our souls! For those who see no need for the “salvation of their souls” such JOY is inaccessible!
The second text that comes to mind is Hebrews 12 where we read: “12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Here we learn about the Lord’s JOY! He endured the cross “for the JOY set before Him”! That is a divine mystery, my friends. But at the very least we can say He thought it completely worthwhile to pay for your sins and mine — and He looked forward to the JOY of doing the Father’s will and saving our souls!
Remind me again? What was it that was bringing you down?