19 December 2019 — Thursday after the Third Sunday of Advent

Deuteronomy 28:45–48, Isaiah 29:17–21, John 15:11 (read online ⧉)

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”
Nehemiah 8:10
Why is it God’s joy, and not our own this our strength? First, we are finite. Even the physically strongest person alive is not stronger than God. Second, our joy as much as it can be Godly is still human. Our perception of joy is so flawed because we are so flawed as a result of the Fall, and our ongoing battle with the worst of our thoughts and behaviors, plus all of the ungodly stuff that the throws at and on top of us.

Oddly enough, sometimes joy is a duty. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Yet, often we do as we ought because we ought because God is who we have chosen to follow. Joy does come out of that, just not always immediately. This is another aspect of ourselves, we always want to feel the joy, not just have it.

Joy does come in obedience, not necessarily blind obedience, but obedience that trusts in the one who is obeyed. Those that trust God even when obedience costs something, are those who put God first, and themselves second. This is where we can find Godly joy. God is our Creator, why would we not find joy in following?

Jesus wants us to be part of Godly joy. He told his disciples that their joy would be complete if his joy was in them. Who wouldn’t want that in them? Well, Judas had left the gathering at that point. That’s pretty telling. While we don’t know what Jesus said every day for 3 years, this couldn’t have been the only time he had said something similar. Judas just didn’t get it. Sadly, most people don’t. It would be nice if the ratio of believers in the world matched the ratio of believers of the disciples. However, it’s almost the opposite.

1) How can Christian joy change the world? How can your joy change the world?

2) What do you think about feeling joy versus having joy?

3) Are obedience and joy truly tied together? Why or why not?