During 2020, our theme was thankfulness. As we enter into 2021, our focus will be on joy in Christ.
This theme has been challenging for me. I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers and am always rejoicing. It is hard to imagine that joy is possible when you are throwing up, when God feels far away, or when people you love are hurting, and you can’t be there. But Philippians 4:4 commands us to “rejoice in the Lord always.” So, somehow, it is always possible for a Christian to have joy. But, what kind of joy am I talking about?
Perhaps it would help to define what joy is not.
I recently read a booklet by R.C. Sproul called “Can I Have Joy in my Life?” In it, he writes, “Even if the Christian cannot rejoice in his circumstances, if he finds himself passing through pain, sorrow, or grief, he still can rejoice in Christ.” It appears that this kind of joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but Christ. How can we rejoice in Christ?
As I’ve been meditating on this question, what seems to be clear is that a relationship with Jesus is the source of joy. In Psalm 16:11, David writes that in God’s “presence there is fullness of joy.” Through faith in Jesus, we can enter God’s joy-giving presence (Romans 5:2).
By trusting in Who Jesus is and His promises, we have something to rejoice about:
- Every time I feel anxious for the future, I have the joy of direct access in prayer to my Heavenly Father through Jesus, the Great High Priest.
- Every time my past sins are thrown back in my face by Satan, the accuser, I can rejoice in the sufficient sacrifice of Jesus.
- Every time my heart breaks for people I love who I can’t help, I can rejoice in recognizing that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, loves them more and will care for them better than I.
- Every time I fail, I have the joy of remembering that God will complete the sanctifying work He began in me at the return of Jesus.
So, through Jesus, I can always choose to rejoice.
- Although there is so much that we are learning and trying to understand about culture and language, we are confident that God will continue to prepare us and give us the tools that we need to glorify Him here.
- Over the last few months, several people have passed through our neighborhood asking for food or clothing they might be able to resell. The analogy of Jesus as the One who satisfies our spiritual hunger comes to mind in these situations of physical hunger and need. Please pray for these souls to find the One who can not only provide moment-by-moment but fill their hearts forever.
- Pray for boldness to continue to share Christ’s love and for words that would point them to Him.
Photo Credit: David Caucutt
Copy this link and share your response to your social media. Here are some questions to help you craft your response:
- Where are you struggling to find joy in Christ, even as you do ministry at your church or mission organization?
- Which bullet points under David’s “…something to rejoice about” most spoke to you today?
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