(By Rachel Joyce)
How is your joy quotient?
Satan wants us to despair. He knows that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh 8:10). If only he can steal our joy and drain our strength, our Christian life will be a mere shadow of what God intends for it to be.
I don’t know about you, but I play into his hand far too often. So many times, he doesn’t need to beat me up, I’m already doing that for him.
The echoes reverberate in my head, “You haven’t gotten that done. Why does it take you so long? You’re too particular. You haven’t spent enough time with her; what kind of friend are you, anyhow? And you forgot to send that sympathy card. That wasn’t very loving. Why can’t you get it together? Just look at this house! You’re always failing.” And on, and on.
These are not the words of my Father. And yet they feel so true. I do fail. I’ll never do life perfectly. And yet perfect is not what God calls me to be. That’s what Jesus was.
He came to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law for us the unrighteous ones (Rom 8:4). Our imperfections are covered by His perfect righteousness (2 Co 5:21). So even though we will never be perfect, we are accepted (Eph 1:6). We are His beloved ones (Rom 9:25).
So even when I feel more like a failure than His treasure, especially when that feels true, I will preach the gospel to myself. I am His. I am chosen. I am loved. I cannot begin to fathom the work He wants to do in and through me, but today I can choose to believe it and act accordingly. I will not let Satan steal my birthright or my joy.
In Psalm 90, Moses, the man of God, prays, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days... Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.”
That is what we need - to be satisfied, truly satisfied with His love so that His joy spills from us. We need to let Him so transform us that our children and others see His power in our own lives. They need to see us honestly facing the sins in our own lives (anger, pride, self-will, impatience, a lack of love toward others, or whatever our particular besetting sins may be) and letting God make us more like Jesus. I believe that the extent to which we are truly satisfied with His love, His victorious power will be evident in our lives.
Yes, we will suffer in this life; yes, we will struggle with failure and difficulties, but when He is enough for us, the peace and joy that will flow from our lives will be a compelling witness to others and will draw them to our Saviour. This is my prayer for each of us.
May the beauty of the Lord our God be upon you today.