'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
For some, it seems very difficult to enjoy life and living. There can be an almost endless number of reasons - health, making ends meet, difficulties over relationships, abuse or criticisms from others, persecutions. The list could go on and on. Some despair over disappointments in life. Expectations are not met. Plans fail. Depressions begin. Life seems sometimes just not worth the living. But the Bible has much to say about being joyful.
Many of the direct references to being joyful are found in the Psalms. There is a side to David that we often overlook. That is his proclivity for being joyful. Although he had many troubles, trials, and much stress in his life, he always trusts God that his joy will return. And it always did. He was filled with hope and joyous optimism even under the most trying circumstances. God commands us through him to make a joyful noise to God, and in this God also enjoys. He was so joyful that he could hear the hills, and valleys, and all creation joyfully praising God for their creation (Psalm 96:12; 98:4-8; Isaiah 49:13)). He commands to sing with joy to God, to rejoice in our salvation (Psalm 25:9). How often have you simply felt joy over the profoundness of the truth that you are going to live forever, in a perfect environment, where everyone is perfect, including you? Has it really penetrated your soul the reality of the salvation that God in Christ is doing for you?
Some feel that God does not intend that we enjoy, but that we should fill our days with agonizing self discipline and flagellation of spirit and body, citing scripture for justification for living a life of gloom and doom. There are times for these things, but these should not be the rule and tenor of our existence. God never intends that we live a morose life of sadness, which can become a form of religious pride. Are there some things that you naturally enjoy but you believe or have been told that it "isn't Christian" to do so? If course if it really is "not Christian", you must not do it. If it is sin, you must flee it like the plague.
If what you would enjoy, or do enjoy, would be a stumbling block to someone, you must not do it. The Apostle Paul devotes a large part of Romans 14 to this problem that existed at that time (Romans 14:10-16). Not everything that we truly enjoy is right and best for us or for others in God's sight, and we exist to glorify Him in all things - including those things that He has enabled us to enjoy. There is a "joy" of the world and of the flesh that can be sin. From these we must flee.
If you are being led by the Holy Spirit, and you know Christ and are known by Him, you can know of a certainty whether some of the things you enjoy are right or wrong, whether they are sin or not. Ask God to give you a discerning insight to enable you to prove the things that are the best of what God has given you. And when you know the things which you enjoy that are approved by God, enjoy them. Everything in God's creation can be enjoyable - if done so in the spirit of bringing glory to Him (1 Timothy 6:17). If it brings glory to Him, it will also bring glory to us, and a much more joyful life. And use the things you enjoy to bring joy to others. This a large part our own enjoyment, and also of bringing glory to God. Do you have a latent talent, an interest, or a suppressed desire to develop something that brings you joy and the right kind of pleasure? Is it something that God would enjoy, too?
Ask God to show you what you - and He - can enjoy together. Something that you can do or develop. Is there something that you have long desired to accomplish - something deep down in you, a longing that you have suppressed - a desire that God would approve? We are commanded to do all that we do to the glory of Him. Whether large or small. There are things that you can do. Can you do some of those things that you have not done that would bring joy to you, others, and to Him?
As you begin to enjoy more of what God approves and created uniquely in you, you will also see that in doing so, you will begin to enjoy God in a way perhaps you never thought possible. Even if there is nothing that God has shown you that you can accomplish that would bring joy, you can always rejoice and be joyful about God's creation. You do not have to accomplish in order to find joy in God. You can be joyful in God's accomplishments. The majesty of God is present from the smallest to the largest in all that He has created - from small particles and summitry of a snowflake or a raindrop, to a far away Galaxy, should fill us with awe, and deep joy in God Who can do such things. All of which will bring Him joy in you, and you joy in Him. You can find your joy in Him, because He finds His joy in you. This is one reason that He created all of us, that He could enjoy relationship with us, and that we could find true joy in all that we do in Him (1Timothy 6:17;1 Corinthians 10:31))
Can you be of some kind of service to others? This is a source of great joy that those whose hearts are on the giving side can experience. Christians should find great joy in each others, born of the love of God in all. The Apostle Paul considered those under his care to be his joy (Philippians 2:2; 4:1). Even with the burden of the problems of others, they were still his joy - even his crown. This is the joy of service to others. The list is endless of types of service to others. Find a way to serve. Large or small, there is joy there. And you can have it, if you will humble yourself to become a servant to others. Jesus came to be a servant to us. And He still is. By becoming a servant to all, He has been exalted above all. He is joyful over us all.
Give yourself permission to be joyful. Then, find with God's guidance that which truly makes you joyful. But above all, enjoy your salvation. Enjoy the hope you have. Even get excited about it. Even if there is notlhing else you can enjoy, you can enjoy God. God is a joyful God, because of you. And you were made to enjoy Him forever.
Enjoy to the full...enjoy your God!
"I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [[a]continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father's commandments and live on in His love. I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing." - John 11:9-11 (AmpBible)
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