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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 4 Sadness and JOY

We are working our way through the epistle to the Philippians as we think about the theme of JOY! In our previous post we saw that there are many, many books on happiness and how to get it.

While JOY isn’t an explicit topic in Philippians, it seems that it permeates much of what the Apostle Paul is saying to these believers. The sheer use of the term JOY (and its variants) shows that a deep, other worldly JOY was a major aspect of his life.

I love the quote from G.K. Chesterton when he said, “The modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy like a bird in spring.” (Orthodoxy).

Deep JOY begins with recognizing that we are in the wrong place, something is terribly “out of whack,” for we are not right with the world and with the God who made the world. JOY — true, deep, biblical JOY — begins with a profound sadness about our sinful condition. That sadness is remedied only by the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God for our sins.

Perhaps this is a clue why so few believers experience this kind of life-permeating JOY. The JOY or happiness they have was not preceded by a profound sadness over their sins. The church must recover the biblical doctrine of repentance if it is to faithfully present the gospel to a sin-sick and sad world. We read in 2 Corinthians 7 that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

The first use of the term JOY in Philippians occurs in chapter one as Paul begins his epistle: “3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Do I pray for others “with JOY”? Do you? For whom should you pray today? Choose to pray for that person — with JOY!

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2019 in joy

 

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“Come to Earth to Taste Our Sadness” (a Christmas hymn)

Written by Charles Wesley in 1744, this hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” focuses on the Savior’s coming to provide salvation to all who believe.  As we visited a church in Hilton Head, SC, the third verse of this hymn gripped me.Screenshot 2015-12-21 05.26.36

I have often sung the first verse:

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

But the third verse really captured my attention:

Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end;
by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;
this the everlasting wonder, Christ was born the Lord of all.

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Has it dawned on you that the Lord Jesus came down from heaven’s glories to “taste your sadness”?  I’m reminded of Hebrews 2:9 which says, “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”  Do I believe He also tasted my sadness?

May I ask you, my friend, what sadness has gripped your soul?  It may be Screenshot 2015-12-24 05.02.51sadness at the sorry state of the world, grief at the brokenness of the lives of loved ones, or despair over the state of your own heart.  Jesus tasted that sadness — and He came to redeem you and that tragedy (whatever it may be).   The prophet Isaiah tells us “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Is. 53:4).

Give Him that gift of your sadness today — as a Christmas present to the Savior who entered the world not just to taste death for you, but to taste — and redeem — your sadness.

Your thoughts?

 

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2015 in sadness

 

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