Thursday, July 21, 2011

FINDING JOY

Let me tell you a little secret... true joy is found in holiness; in being "set apart" for the things of the Lord. When we set ourselves apart from the things of this world and consecrate ourselves unto the Lord, we find joy. I was reminded of this truth as I was reading in Ezra chapter 6. After rebuilding the temple, those who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of the world in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel, found so much joy that they celebrated and feasted for seven days. It was only those who had pursued holiness that were participants in this great celebration. Those who set themselves apart for the things of the Lord and leave behind the things of this world, get to participate in the things of God and enjoy the blessings and presence of the Lord. This is where true joy is found - in the Lord.

Most people think of obedience to the Lord as "downer" and something that will make life boring. Others think that mixing some things of this world in with the things of God is an acceptable way of living and that God is totally cool with it. These are lies and believing these lies is keeping people from experiencing true joy, true peace, and a satisfied life. We have to remember that the Lord does not get cozy with worldliness.

I contend that there is no real joy apart from the Lord. Yes, there may be temporary experiences of happiness that feel like joy. But true and lasting joy that penetrates the soul and gives life to the spirit only comes from the Lord and this joy is only experienced by those who are setting themselves apart for Him and Him alone. When we compromise in the area of obedience, we cheat ourselves of real joy. When we engage in the things of this world that do not glorify the Lord, it costs us greatly. It costs us the joy of the Lord. However, when we purpose to consecrate ourselves unto God and when we aggressively set ourselves apart from the unclean practices of this world, the joy of the Lord fills us up and becomes our portion. Are you ready to exchange the junk of this world for the joy of the Lord? I am.

I leave you with the words of Jesus:
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. 10 If you obey My commands (holiness), you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. 11 I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." - John 15:9-11

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