A Favorable Response from the Lord

Joy.

Last week I said I wanted to write a post about joy.

It has seemed as though the topic has been popping up around me through various friends who have shared their thoughts completely independently of each other. My friends Hosanna and Jessica both blogged about it recently (well, barring the fact that I’ve taken weeks or months to respond. It feels recent).

Then another friend called me and shared some teaching she’d been listening to that articulated joy in a totally new way to anything I’ve heard before. It’s what we feel when someone we love responds favorably to us – when they are happy to be with us.

164-a-favorable-response-from-the-lord

I can see the logic in this.

This is what enabled Paul of the New Testament to be able to say, while he was in chains and some people were preaching Christ out of selfish ambition:

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

-Philippians 1:18 (read the context in your Bible or here)

And this is why Paul’s contemporary, the author of Hebrews, could say of the early Church:

You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

-Hebrews 10:34 (read the context in your Bible or here)

And this is the basis on which church leader James staked his exhortation:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

-James 1:2 (read the context in your Bible or here)

Despite any and all circumstances that are pressing against us from all sides, if we are the children of God, God has responded favorably to us.

Incredibly favorably. In fact, He didn’t respond, He initiated. And that while we were still sinners.

I’m going to wrap up this post on the shorter side (if you want more reading, go back and read the contexts of the verses, which I linked to). But I want to end by affirming the messages of my friends Hosanna and Jessica. Yes, joy is possible. And yes, you can rejoice. Right now.

Let’s Engage

  • How would you define or articulate joy? From what other angles would you look at this fruit of the Spirit?
  • Share with me a favorite passage expressing some of the many ways God has responded favorably to His children. One of mine is 2 Peter 1:3-4.
  • Do you have a personal testimony of joy in the unlikely place—whether in the midst of a trial or the mundane?
Advertisements

6 thoughts on “A Favorable Response from the Lord

  1. Great post, Jordy! I enjoyed reading it.

    While I love reading the New Testament I also love reading books in the Old Testament. You get to see God’s just nature, His wrath, His holiness, and you also get to see His grace, mercy, compassion, and love. So while I don’t have a particular favorite verse of God responding favorably I think we can see it throughout the entire Old Testament. Without God’s grace, where would we be today?

    It’s funny how small, almost insignificant memories can stick out in your mind. I can still remember a while back, I think it was a few months ago but it might have been longer, I was sitting on my bed listening to lively Christian music and I had my Bible out and I was writing a blogpost. That moment sticks out in my mind because it was a moment where I just felt full of joy and peace and it was great.
    What about you? What’s a memory that you have of feeling joy in a mundane or unusual circumstance?

    Like

    1. It’s true, Sarah. While God’s holiness and wrath are generally more immediately evident in the Old Testament, His mercy, grace, love and compassion are most certainly there, too. Like when God had the elders of Isreal eat in His presence on Mount Sinai and not die…? That’s crazy just to imagine!

      That’s a sweet memory to savor, Sarah. Perhaps the joy that filled your heart as you sat there on your bed made the moment more significant than if something big and exciting had been going on around you. Do you remember which blog post you were writing at the time?

      Haha, I usually ask my questions without a fleeting thought that someone might ask me back. Let me think now… I’ve had a few moments similar to what you described. In one I was sitting on top of a large rock at one of our old houses singing to God and talking to Him. In another, I was at my grandparents’ house on their tyre swing, also singing if I remember correctly. Yes, singing seems to be a comment thread between my moments of joy in the otherwise mundane or ordinary moments. Have you noticed any such common threads for yourself?

      Like

  2. How would you define or articulate joy? From what other angles would you look at this fruit of the Spirit?:

    Such a tough question! For me, it’s more than a feeling, I suppose – it’s an action or a choice. I CHOOSE to be joyful about things … even when I don’t feel like it. I think it’s important to rejoice over the little things as well!

    Share with me a favorite passage expressing some of the many ways God has responded favorably to His children:

    Luke 15:6-7 is one that comes to mind. It’s about how there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. I think that’s cool – just thinking about God REJOICING over us! It always makes me super happy and secure – that God loves us so incredibly and individualistically that He takes time to be happy over every one of us who is saved. 🙂 Which gives me joy in return!

    Do you have a personal testimony of joy in the unlikely place—whether in the midst of a trial or the mundane?:

    I’m afraid I don’t, not really. Recently my grandfather had a stroke and almost died, and though he’s recovered slightly, he probably won’t be with us much longer. And so far it’s been tough to find much joy in that – only patience and not breaking down and whatnot. But I’m seeking it and praying about it!

    Like

    1. Before I respond to the rest of your comment, Kell, that’s really, really hard to have a loved one in poor health and know that the time they have left with you is uncertain. I’m sorry for the pain that you, he, and those who love him are experiencing.

      If we’re being particular about words, I wouldn’t encourage you to find joy *in* your circumstances as in to find it *from* your circumstances, though I would hope for your sake that you would find joy in the midst of your circumstances through an outside source. I’m not sure how much that is dependant that is on your choice. I think joy comes in the way we choose to respond coupled with the grace God gives us (because sometimes the full force of our will power isn’t enough to bring joy).

      Those verses you shared about the Lord rejoicing over us paint such a beautiful picture and are joy-inspiring indeed. If I were writing a story set in another universe – if I imagined up a supreme being and people who sinned against him – the unspoken rules of story-writng would have me provide reason and logic for that supreme being to *desire* reconciliation with those who had offended him. With God, the reason is found in His very nature, which seems kind of like saying “just because.” That’s so amazing to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, thanks, Jordy! 🙂 I think we’ll all cope, and he is a Christian, so that makes thing easier.

        YES, sorry, that’s what I meant.

        Exactly! It’s so incredible! Awe-inspiring and track-stopping!

        Like

      2. Not to downplay the hard side, but it definitely helps knowing that someone is born again and you have the assurance of seeing them again. I hope this will be a real, anchoring comfort for you and your family. Thinking of you, my friend. xx

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s