Friday, May 21, 2010

Serious Joy

I’ve taken very seriously the working out my salvation with fear and trembling. The idea of approaching the throne grace is not something to be done flippantly. However, in the past week, I’ve come across passage after passage on the joy and peace that God brings from the hope that Christ left us.

One that particularly struck me came from my quiet time on Wednesday. As I meditated on this, it really penetrated me. Read it and think for a moment.

“May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

My God, the God that made everything and does everything in his power, wants that I receive JOY and PEACE as I trust in Him. Wow.

This blew my mind. Though I have been experiencing deep peace, a peace that passes understanding, I’ve been in a very contemplative state. Off putting to some. My sister had mentioned that my “countenance” was one of sadness. I thought about this, seriously, for few days. Though, I feel that her statement was cutting, I also saw some truth in it in some situations. So I prayed through it, asking God to bring me joy and allow it exude life from me. And yesterday, it came.

I was talking with a coworker and she said that we aren’t supposed to bring gloom with us everywhere we go. “Who wants to change because of that?” She said. As examples of Christ, we are to live lives that show him. Lives that bring people to want to know why we are so excited about God, why we are so glad to be alive, why we serve the God we serve.

We aren’t supposed to go through the days with a sober mind, contemplating the sadness that was that day that he died, though this is good. It’s not about the legalism of sackcloth and ash, as it had been for so many months in my life. Yes, God is serious. I take him very seriously. But, God wants us to look to the hope of heaven, his bridegroom returning for us, and live joyfully.

In a world where Lady Gaga will not be leaving anytime soon, though she should’ve expired months ago, we must find the joy in everyday things. Some choose music, entertainment, fitness or friends. For me, it’s the weather. No matter what fills the sky, God has made a wonderful day. I always thank him for the weather. I thank him for my meals. Every opportunity to visit with another soul, I thank him with great joy knowing we grew in him as we grew with each other. I thank him joyfully for all the little blessings, like chocolate from a friend’s candy dish or free pastries at lunchtime, when I forget my lunch. (If you could work that out for today, God, I would really appreciate it. I ended a fast yesterday, and totally forgot that today I’d need a lunch.)

Once we get to that place of joy and contentment in God presence in the world, we find that God is in everything. We find joy in the time we spend with our families. We are able to naturally talk about Jesus with people of no or little faith. We can see our lives as exceedingly blessed by God instead of so-so.

I’m reminded of a song by Desperation band. Just listen to the words.

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear a sound

Lord, I’m amazed by you
Lord, I’m amazed by you
How you love me

It’s the amazement of unknown joy and little delights can be the most exciting. He’s dancing over us while we aren’t even doing anything devoted to him. He’s there. Doesn’t that just give you serious joy?

So today, think of God’s blessing in your life. Continue to seek him out with fear and trembling, but do it joyfully. After all, we are transformed by his glory. That's serious joy.

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