Meditations on Joy

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11)

A frequent prayer of mine is for grace to remember the things I ought not forget, and to forget the things I ought not remember. Of course this prayer has a special significance to Scripture memorizers, and my recent meditations on today's Scripture have led me to conclude that our tendency to forget God's words often robs us of the joy knowing Christ brings. Of course there are a number of reasons we may find ourselves discouraged at times, but my personal experience has been that discouragement is very often due to us losing sight of one or more of the following truths:

1 - Who We Were A common illustration used to depict our spiritual condition before Christ is that we were drowning in our sins. But the truth of Scripture as recorded in Ephesians 2:1 is that we were already "dead in trespasses and sins." We were "without Christ. . . having no hope and without God in the world" (Vs. 12). To be a Christian is to "have passed from death to life", and to "sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (1 John 3:14; Eph. 2:6). 2 - Whose We Are Remembering who we were before Christ is only a joyous meditation when we also take time to consider who we now are in Christ. And who are we? According to Romans 8:16, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." We have been "bought at a price", and are members of the "church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (1 Cor. 6:20; Acts 20:28). In the words of Jesus Himself, "You belong to Christ" (Mark 9:41). 3 - What He Did As has often been said, although salvation is offered freely, the price of our redemption was extraordinarily great. On the cross, the "Prince of life" Himself was "wounded for our transgressions" and "bruised for our iniquities" (Acts 3:15; Isa. 53:5). Because He was "poured out like water", we are able to "take the water of life freely" (Ps. 22:14; Rev. 22:17). And because He rose again from the dead, "even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). 4 - Where We're Going This life may be all we've ever known, but it is nonetheless "even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (Jas. 4:14). As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:19, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." But consider the glorious promise of heaven offered to the Christian:

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. . ." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

I often ponder the fact that one million years from now, most of temporary things that seem so important today will hardly be a memory. Perhaps the greatest source of daily joy is our steady "hope of eternal life which God, Who cannot lie, promised before time began" (Titus 1:2).



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