April 27th 2010

Clothed With Christian Joy

3rd in a Series

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

The chances are that we will not have to face the ordeal of death by crucifixion.  Yet when Jesus did, there was something that carried him through, and that something was joy.  The joy wasn’t in the pain and humiliation but something beyond the immediate distress, something that we all have within us.

Christian joy is not something that comes from without; it is not a reflected quality that needs some outside stimulation.   Rather it is something that is resident within us.  It is one of the main qualities of God’s character.  God dwells in eternal joy!  If you were God, is that not how you would dwell?  Well, that same joy is ours as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

So why, then, are we not always filled with joy?  Quite simply, we let outside circumstances determine how we feel.  When Jesus faced crucifixion he did not allow the outside circumstance to dictate his state of mind, he looked beyond the immediate and set his mind on the joy of the Kingdom of God.

That promise of the Kingdom is also a promise to us.  We have been granted to share in that glory with him.  In fact Paul reckons that it has already occurred.  Notice his words to the church at Ephesus:  “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6).

But how often do we see ourselves as God sees us, raised into the heavens and seated with Jesus at the right hand of God, the Father?  This vision was never out of Jesus’ mind.  Being again with the Father in Glory, and we with him, was the reason he came to earth.

This is our present state or condition, and no one can take that from us.  What better reason can there be to let the joy of God flow out from us in praise and thankfulness!

Prayer

Father in heaven, thank you for the joy of knowing that we are seated at your right hand with Jesus; and there we will be forever and ever.

Amen

Study by David Stirk 

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