Joy - Part 2

War. Hunger. Poverty. Depression. Recession. Abortion. Violence. Abuse. Homosexuality. Drugs. Rejection. Debt. Homelessness. Alcohol. Death. Suicide.

They're everywhere - on our streets, in the newspapers, posted all over the Internet. We are bombarded with reasons to hate, to give up, to give in. But with all of these terrible issues going on around us, Christ speaks of His joy.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:10-11

No matter what may threaten to overwhelm, we are to follow the Lord's commandments. Whether those around us will keep them or not, we are to be faithful. Obedience and God's love go hand-in-hand, and that love is where our joy comes from.

The deep-rooted, long-term joy that radiates from our very soul is directly related to our relationship with the Lord. The closer we are and the more read His Word, the more we will see the joy building in our hearts. The only reason it wanes is because we drift away from God when circumstances change. Other things become central and those things temporarily blot out our joy.

When was the last time you turned your focus away from the nasty headlines and placed it back on the things of God? His blessings and His mercies are the reasons we recognize joy - they are so beautiful and so perfect that they outshine the filthiness of the world. Think about a joy so full that you can't contain it. It spills out of our overturned cup and bathes us in the Lord's perfection.

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forever more. Psalm 16:11

We know that God is our constant companion, but it is only in His presence that we find the meaning and the source of pure joy. We can look elsewhere - people, things, money, the future - but we will never find true joy outside of Christ's love. What really makes life worth living are His path, His gift of eternal life to the saved, His joy and the pleasures He delights in giving us daily.

If you are saved, joy is never lost or taken away. It simply gets pushed into the background while we search for something bigger and better. We will never find anything on this earth as joyful as our relationship with the Lord, so take the time to nurture it and rediscover the joy He pours into us.

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalm 16:8-9

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