Friday, December 26, 2008

Joy ~ Day Six

Ooops! I posted today's post yesterday, and this is the post that should have been posted for Christmas Day. We will return to the story of Zecharias and Elizabeth tomorrow.

John 15:9-11
I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

The pastor of my childhood church had a banner behind his desk. It pictured a figure jumping for joy. Across the bottom of the banner were the words, A Christian Should be a Hallelujah from Head to Foot!

What makes people happy? Where does joy come from? Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Everyone asks these sort of questions at times, even people of faith. Christians are people who have discovered that true happiness comes from knowing and serving Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to live life among us and to bring us joy that overflows. Today's scripture contains a powerful principle: Joy come from obedience to God and to a life lived in love. I'll be honest in saying that the most miserable times of my life have been those times when I knew I was not living in obedience to God's love.

The joy we speak of during this season is not the kind of happiness that might come from presents, family gatherings, shopping and lights. Those things can be a wonderful part of our celebration, but they are not the true joy of Christmas. The joy of Christmas is knowing that our Savior came to free us from sin and death. He came to give us life, a life that comes from God both now and forevermore! When we understand this, our obedience to God can flow out of a willing and obedient heart.

Prayer: Joy to the world! You, Lord have come! Let my heart prepare a place for you to live. I love you, Lord, and I want to walk in obedience to you. As I do, may my joy overflow to all those around me! Amen


much2ponder said...

Last night before I went to sleep I sat in bed reading from the book of Matthew. Ray and I took turns reading from Mathew and Luke the story of Jesus' birth in the morning and I wanted to end my Christmas night with a bit more scripture. I read the Beatitudes and continued to read from Matt. 5

Jesus is talking...
"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God's law will remain until its purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you--unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can't enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!"

Of course this made me go to the commandments and read them over. I read all of this to Ray and we pondered a bit on obedience, the Beatitudes, and the Kingdom of heaven. Do you think this is a coincidence? I don't!

Iris Godfrey said...

I see "joy" as a power (Isaiah 12) to use to access all the Lord has invested in me. I has edges of "happy" in it, but is not limited by that concept at all.

Thank you for these posts.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. I can see the difference between joy and happiness. I feel the joy of the season despite news of friends getting ill exactly because of the hope in Jesus. And this joy has a calming effect in times of difficulty. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Amen to your prayer!