Sustained By Joy

I was a cheerleader once. Well, actually it was the pep squad, but we had pom-poms. I learned to do herkies and smile and wave my arms, and I almost got the splits.

But I felt like a fake.

The problem was I’ve always bent toward the introverted side of life. When I get excited, I tend to grow quiet (not an asset when you’re a cheerleader), and I think more than I smile. In fact, my forehead has two permanent wrinkles from furrowing my brow in concentration. I’m not unhappy, I’m just thinking.

So all the talk of joy in the Bible always made me feel a bit inadequate. It was as if I was expected to plaster a smile on my face no matter how I felt. What a relief it was to learn that God dislikes fake just as much as I do! The joy that we read about in Scripture is much more than a smile, and it doesn’t require pom-poms!

It is the joy of our salvation! (Psalm 51:12)

The joy of the Lord that is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

This joy is much deeper than we imagine. It isn’t a product of our temporary circumstances but of our abiding union with God through His Spirit and the Body of Christ.

It is an expression of a heart that is embraced by the love of God as revealed through the gospel! A joy that flows from an infinite source.

And it is what sustains our hearts through life’s worst.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

 

WINSOME LIVING
Here’s a practical application of this week’s focus.

Most of us think of joy as something based on our circumstances. If life is good, we have joy. But when it’s bad, not so much.

Well, in a way that’s right. Joy is based on our circumstances.

We just have to remember that our circumstances as those who have been saved are that we’ve been rescued from the desperate consequences of our sin.

We once were lost, but now we’re found.

We had no hope, but now our hope is certain.

We’ve been saved from eternal death, we’re forgiven for our sins, we’re loved by the God of the universe, and He’s called us His child and given us His name.

This is why we have joy!

So here’s the WINSOME LIVING application this week:

  • Make a list of your circumstances based on the following passage.
  • Read it each day this week to remind your soul of all that is yours because of the gospel.
  • Let the joy of your salvation fill your mind and heart with strength!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

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Every Wednesday, I’m exploring what winsome living looks like. What does it mean to be embraced by love and sustained by joy?

Here are all the posts in this series:
Why Winsome?
Embraced by Love
Sustained by Joy
Winsome Living

 

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Winsome Living
Embraced By Love
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