Alive to Joy
…the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. They are to show their love to him by keeping his commandments.
biding in God’s love is the secret to experiencing the joy we all desire, and the way we remain in His love is to obey Him. Thus obedience is linked with joy. We can’t attain joy by seeking it as an end in itself; it comes to us as a result of abiding in the love that is ours in God through Jesus Christ. Our love for God exists because He loved us first,[ii] and so if the enemy can convince us that God couldn’t possibly love the likes of us, we can be robbed of joy.
God is Spirit and we are flesh, and we are prone to draw erroneous conclusions from these two facts. The enemy wants us to think we are worthless, and that the only real value we hold to God rests in a spiritual reality that can’t benefit us while we are housed in physical bodies.
To understand how deeply God loves us in our here and now, we need to remember that Jesus was born and lived as a human being and died a human death. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became flesh, and walked among the human beings of His day. When we buy the lie that, as physical beings, we have nothing in common with God, we must remember that three days after our Lord’s physical body was killed, His physical body was raised to life! The resurrected Christ talked with His disciples, ate and drank, and showed them His pierced hands and the wound in His side. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
This is a mystery we can’t comprehend, but we mustn’t fail to recognize the great blessing of love behind it. God chose that His Son should come to us in the painful, beautiful, very human way of childbirth as a physical demonstration of His creative power and love. God brings light from darkness, life from dust, and a squirming, screaming child from the dark and danger of the birth process. He is the Creator, the joy-giver, the lover of our souls, and He brings each one of us forth in a physical birth that is holy and miraculous. His virtuosity is revealed in the miracle of flesh and blood, and Heaven touches Earth as He places His Spirit in us.
There are no routine birthing stories; each of us is a miracle because every one of us is a product of God's great love. Our heavenly Father rejoices as He brings us forth, He loves us as we are placed in our mothers' arms, and He watches over us all the days of our lives. We are each one of us precious in His sight. We are beloved of God.
Pray: Lord, help me to rejoice in the fact that I am uniquely created and uniquely loved by You. Help me to awareness of the ways You have treasured me, provided for me, and loved me all the days of my life. Help me to bank on Your compassion, look for Your provision, and rejoice in Your love. I praise You with joy, the joy of one who is beloved. Teach me to abide and obey in Your love. Amen.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.