Saturday, July 6, 2013

Glad in God: How Jesus is Reason enough to be eternally happy

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. - Philippians 4:4, KJV
We read this verse.  We sing the song... Rejoice! Rejoice! Again I say Rejoice! ...  But it is more often true than not that we read it and sing it with the conviction that we are not rejoicing in the Lord rather than with the assurance that we are.

What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord?

The Greek word for rejoice is "chairo".  It means to rejoice exceedingly, to be joyful or glad, or to be well or thrive.

To rejoice in the Lord means to have joy and gladness and wellness in God.  To find our satisfaction not in the things of this world--even the good things--but in God Himself.  Our external circumstances may change, but God never changes; therefore, if our joy is in Him, then our joy shall be unshakeable, for it is in the One who cannot be shaken.

I must confess that for awhile now I have not been rejoicing in the Lord.  I have been rejoicing in other things--particularly myself; when I wasn't doing well, I had no joy, because my joy was in me and I am a changeable, unfaithful sinner.  I doomed myself to joylessness when I made myself and not God the object of my joy; I can never be the source of that full, unshakeable joy that can only be found in God; if I could, I would be God, and I am not.  So to make myself the source of my joy was a subtle form of idolatry--worshiping another god.  The first commandment is that we shall have no other gods--only the One True God.  Making anything other than God the source of your joy--as only He is meant to be that source--is to have another god.

I hope you will ask me: Well what about now?  Do you have joy in God?

Ah!  By His sweet mercy and grace, yes I do!

How did you come by this joy?

By contemplating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You mean the fact that Jesus Christ died on a cross 2000 years ago and bore the penalty for my sins?

Yes, that; and everything that means for you and me, who are in Christ and "accepted in the Beloved"!

Please explain, sister; I want that joy, too.

Gladly!  Last night my college pastor asked us a simple question: Does God love everyone unconditionally?  It was a difficult question to answer.  We know that God loves everyone because Scripture testifies to that fact.  John 3:16 says that "God so loved the world..."  It seems pretty clear that means everyone.  But how does He love the world?  "...that He gave His Only Son..."  Through Jesus! There is a condition: That you forsake your sins and come to Christ; then God will gladly receive you.  It's because of Jesus that God can love us!  Apart from Christ, we can only receive the fierce wrath, the holy hatred of God.

Christian!  Does that not make Jesus Christ very dear and precious to you?  It is because of Him that God can love you!  It is because of Him that God can accept you and treat you like His child!  It's all because of Christ!  Realizing that gave me great joy!!  And I pray it gives you great joy, too!

Oh contemplate all that Christ is to us and for us, and be happy in God, dear sisters!