Thursday, January 08, 2009

Joy

Erin V. gave me a beautiful Christmas tree ornament. It is the word "Joy" in silver. Through it, Erin was encouraging me to have joy in the Lord no matter how crazy things got. Sometimes, when the cats jostle the tree, it read "yoJ". So, I was reminded to have "yoJ", too. Whatever that was.

So what is joy? I kept thinking. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" Romans 14:17.


Here is Jerry Bridges, in his classic The Pursuit of Holiness p.154

"God intends the Christian life to be a life of joy--not drudgery. The idea that holiness is associated with a dour disposition is a caricature of the worst sort. In fact, just the opposite is true. Only those who walk in holiness experience true joy.

Jesus said, "If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete: (John 15:10-11) In this statement Jesus links obedience and joy in a cause and effect manner; that is, joy results from obedience. Only those who are obedient--who are pursuing holiness as a way of life--will know the joy that comes from God."


Bridges expands further how holiness produces joy through fellowship with God and through knowing that we are obeying God by yeilding to Him and not resisting Him in a particular area of our lives, as well as producing an attitude of anticipated reward ("Jesus was motivated to endure by anticipating the joy of His reward" Hebrews 12:1-2 p.156).

Bridges concludes how joy from holy living also helps produce a holy life because of the hope we have in Christ, and the strength from that helps us overcome sins, but this involves choices depending on God's provision to follow through on that obedience and accept our responsibility and discipline ourselves.

For 2009, I am looking forward to re-reading this classic that I read in college. I am looking forward to joy.

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