Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Devotional Word #11: JOY

It all happened so fast.

There he was... Luis Romero, my 7th grade nemesis. I wanted to beat him up in a bad way.

It was after school waiting on the bus. Before I knew it, we were wrestling in an alpha dog struggle. I picked him up and slammed him down on the ground. I got a few jabs and an upper cut in as well before I knocked him out with a big right hand to the jaw.

Ok, that's NOT really how it all went down. In reality, we rolled around on the ground and got a few slaps and scratches in before some adult broke it up. That was it. No more, no less. I don't even remember why we got in a fight that day.

You and I are in a very real and serious fight each and every day: it's the fight for our JOY!

JOY is defined as "the expression evoked by well-being, success or good fortune." For Christians, our JOY comes as a direct result of our eternal relationship with our heavenly Father. In Christ, we have eternal blessing, success, and good fortune.

Here's the rub: every day is a fight for JOY as we battle circumstances, people, satan, and even ourselves. These things and more join the struggle against us at different times... or sometimes all at the same time! Let's not forget that JOY is not the same thing as happiness. 

While the struggle is real, know that we all can have JOY in spite of any of the problems we face in this life. 

"Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." ~ James 1:2-4

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:12-13

I'm waiting for the day for my boys to ask if I ever got in fight when I was younger. I'll be honest and tell my few stories. I'm sure we will laugh together. I'll be sure to share about the real fights and struggles of this life.

I'm also waiting for the day when I see Jesus face to face, but I don't think I have to wait until that day to ask Him about His fight to the death on the cross. I already know the Truth! The Word of God is sufficient in it's description and account of His struggle and sacrifice that paid for my sin debt.

"Therefore, since we also have such a large crowd of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won't grow weary and lose heart." ~ Hebrews 12:1-3

Keep your eyes on Jesus: that is how we can have JOY every day of this life.

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