April 4, 2020
All DayCategory: Lenten Devotional
Jesus: Bringer of Joy
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13).
In John, chapters 14 to 17, Jesus is taking stock, he is enlightening his disciples on the “secrets” that have helped him fulfil his mission against all odds in a world that rejects him. In these four chapters he leaves a legacy for us, a woven tapestry (like an intricate Celtic pattern) of a handful of themes that come up again and again. They are repeated so often because they are of such importance: obedience; staying in him; bearing fruit; summoning our courage and inner peace; intensely loving God and our faith family; how our unity is a testimony to the world; the Helper and Advocate who leads us; the prospect of eternal dwellings (keeping us on course like a “homing beacon”); and joy. Without all these we can’t survive the attacks of hatred, doubt and sadness in this life; or the choking by “life’s worries, riches and pleasures” (Luke 8:14).
The joy promised in John 17:13 is closely linked to all the other themes of the tapestry. Our “complete joy” (John 15:11) is only possible in God and when we, his people, stick together and wholeheartedly support each other. And when we are deeply conscious of our hope (joyful in hope [Romans 12:12] ); know our standing before God (1 Peter 1:8-9); rejoice that our names are “written in heaven” (Luke 10:20); and when we don’t lose sight of God.
Let us examine ourselves: How can we overcome our grumpiness, unhappiness and negativity? Which of the following “joy givers” can we implement in 2020?
- Fellowship in home groups, sharing, caring and praying will help us not to lose joy.
- Singing to God, celebrating him in our services - making the joy of the Lord our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
- Paying more attention to seeing glimpses of God’s character in his people, with all their diverse talents and personalities. Being glad for “our people,” being encouraging and giving something of ourselves to others
- Giving thanks daily for what we have, counting our blessings (so difficult for our modern “complainer culture”). Redirecting our minds.
- Consider playing one or two uplifting praise songs on YouTube and singing along.
- Praising God personally in our times of devotion.
Hard? Yes! That’s why it’s called a sacrifice of praise(Hebrews 13:15).