At Stella’s recent birthday party, one of our daughter’s friends was relating a story about the field trip Stella’s class took on Friday. It was the end of the trip just before they would head home. Two of Stella’s friends were in a friendly competition to see who could eat their ice cream first. And Stella entered in with “I am SO gonna be LAST!” She was smiling her huge smile and didn’t care a bit. During the party as she opened all her presents, she kept that infectious joy going with excitement about every present. She’s one joyful kid and when you are around her it just makes you more joyful too!
As I read Philippians chapter 4 this morning verse 4 jumps out at me. Always be full of joy!
Oh beloved, it’s not that easy is it? One might even say about Stella’s joy that she hasn’t lived long enough to be unhappy yet. But she spent her first four months in the hospital, she couldn’t be held for weeks at birth, she has had surgeries and hospitalizations. She knows about pain. She’s pretty young to know so much. Yet her joy remains and could even be said increases. Look at Philippians 4: 4 again – Always be full of joy… in the Lord! There’s your key beloved. In the Lord. What a difference those three words make.
God wants you to know even if you are down and out this morning. Even if your personal life doesn’t look quite as wonderful as your social media life – you can be full of joy in the Lord. You can do all things through Christ in you. You have no condemnation because you are In Christ Jesus. There’s no guarantee that you will have a happy life, but God gives you and me hope – He promises us life in Christ! You are no longer just a human being trying to trudge through life, grab a couple of golden rings and be hopeful that sadness remains far from you. You are IN CHRIST! You are more than because He is more than! Within your heart is a melody that can sing through the sorrow. You have guarantees of life, liberty and the pursuit of God – which makes joy abound. You are not the sum of your past mistakes, future fears or biggest troubles. You are a child of God.
God loves you and He’s for you. In Christ you can be settled into pure joy. In Christ you have His abiding Holy Spirit resident to remind you what the Word says and to give you fresh joy, fresh fire and fresh hope. Run to Him this morning and thank Him for the abiding joy you have. And then live in the Light of the promises that are yours in Christ Jesus!
Philippians 4: 4 “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
I Peter 1: 8 “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.”
2 Corinthians 1: 21-22 “It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He h as promised us.”
Ephesians 6: 10 “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”