Saturday, October 22, 2011

The {IN-JOY} project

The Preface
Something's been simmering inside of me and now you can turn on the light and take a peek as I share what God's been doing!  It started with an email...chatting with a dear friend back in PA, asking what she has 'been enjoying lately'...and as I sit to reply to her volleying the question back to me, I realize....what AM I enjoying?  Melancholy me, I admit, it's easier to recite my discouragements, sit in a dark corner, and forget about the grace of the morning light streaming in, breaking into my despair and frustrations.  Mind you, I am not currently suffering very much, if at all.  But my mind, oh that marvelous mass of interconnected left and right-ness, which filters the world and opens up all guests to my soul, it deceives me, as I'm sure yours does you!  It deceives me into thinking that God has forgotten me, that He does not love me, that the paths of sin, death, and destruction are better than life, joy, and peace.  The battle rages but Satan is not victorious, and praise and thanks, along with my dear husband's prayers, have been my greatest comforts this past year.

Our adversary, and our flesh
I desire to live 'in joy' I'm sure you do as well.  Not the fluffy happiness that the world offers, but the deep lasting joy that only believers walking closely in step with Christ can experience.  I am reminded daily that I have an enemy who wants to rob me of the joy Christ offers to me.  It is so easy to allow a thought to turn into a pattern of behavior, and begin living in misery, when the 'offer of a holiday at the sea' is mine (C.S. Lewis).  I do not fully understand the connection between my own shortfalls in sin and the work the enemy is doing to destroy God's plan in my life...but it is there, and I feel it, as I'm sure you do.

Rejoice, as there is Victory
I am delighted that there is always a 'but God' part of every story.  My story has a very pronounced 'but God' season...where God turned around so much despair and destruction to bring glory to His own great name and joy and peace to my life.  I celebrate because God lives in-joy, therefore we can enjoy all the blessings of this created earth and the delight of fellowship and unity with other believers.  Christ sings over us (Zephaniah) and I can't help but smile when I gaze at the shockingly beautiful Florida sunsets, watch the ducks that waddle through our apartment complex, or chuckle at the boys I tutor as they wrestle, and then quickly hug, tease, and give affection.  Truly we have been given life to the fullest in Christ.

We Can Choose to Live In-Joy
The commands to 'delight ourselves in the Lord' and 'rejoice and be glad' must be born of an all-wise Father who knows we must choose, at points, to walk away from our sin and misery, and instead live in the joy and grace he offers.  The execs over my new home-business (more on that to come) always end emails with 'Make it a Great Day', and that reminds me of the choice we have to do just that.  Will I walk in truth and joy today, or will I wallow in self-pity and any number of other besetting sins?  Will I give in to the lies of the enemy, or will I resist him at every turn with faith, truth, and perseverance?  When cast in that light, there seems to be only one right answer!

The Lost World Needs to See Us In-Joying Life
I cannot forget the words of a former pastor, who reminded us from the pulpit on a regular basis how striking a lack of joy is to the unbelieving world.  He liked to call those Christians 'Eeyore Christians'!  How motivated would you be to follow Christ if your first introduction to the faith was by someone who was severely lacking in joy, who could not seem to in-joy life?  I dare say you, fellow believer, may not have chosen to walk the hard road we all face.  Hear me, I am not saying that we will not face trials and tribulations, for Christ does promise that will be the case, but what I am saying is that we can have joy in the midst of even the deepest, darkest path....let us look to Christ, who for the JOY SET BEFORE HIM, endured the cross, despising the shame....

And so, will you embark on this task with me, to live IN-JOY?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are a blessing to me....