Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I have been reading the book "The Fruitful Life" by Jerry Bridges with my devotions.  It has been a great book! One day this week I read the chapter on joy.  It was so helpful for me that I had to go back to it today and soak up some more.  Here is what I have so far...
   Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

  John 10:10 "I came that they may have life, and have it to the full." God came so that our lives might be full of joy!
  Mr Bridges says, "The fact is, only Christians have a reason to be joyful, but it is also a fact that every Christian should be joyful."
  Hmmm. I never thought of it that way.  That's right!  Only Christians have a reason to be joyful because we have a Saviour who died for us!

  Then Mr Bridges says, "We are not to sit around waiting for our circumstances to make us joyful, we are commanded to be joyful always." Paul says, "I will say it again:Rejoice!" Yet if we are honest, most of us must admit that life is so often anything but joyful.  It often seems that at best life is dull, and at worst it is filled with anxiety, conflict, and tension.  What is it that blocks joy in our lives?"

  The Stumbling Blocks:
1. Sin in our lives or sinful attitudes in our hearts. Christian joy is essentially the enjoyment of God, the fruit of communion with Him. Our sin breaks that communion.

2. Misplaced confidence.  Putting our confidence in ourselves instead of in the Lord.  Confidence in our personal disciplines, our job, etc...  Our confidence must be in the Lord and in the fact that our names are written in Heaven forever! "The circumstances of this life rise and fall, but the assurance of being with Christ one day never changes.  It is in this fact that our joy must be grounded."
   I need to remind myself of this often. Gees I am so self-reliant!

3. The chastening or discipline that God often administers to His children.
  John Sanderson, "If we only knew how bad we are, we would welcome chastening because this is God's way of getting rid of sin and its habits.  But chastening is resented because we cannot believe that we have done anything worthy of it."
  Yes how incredibly prideful I am!  To think that I couldn't possibly need discipline.  Or please don't let it hurt Lord.
  But God disciplines those he loves!

4. Experiencing trials of faith is a fourth hindrance to joy.
  The purpose of trials is to exercise our faith.  He allows them to develop perseverance in us and cause us to fix our hopes on the glory that is yet to be revealed. "Our faith and perseverance can only grow under the pain of trial."  
  That is so true!  I see this for me with health trials.  I must lean on the Lord to provide for me and my family.  I am grateful for what God has taught me through the medical trials. I must persevere.  I must trust that God has my best at heart.  And now with Jordan, all the more these things apply.
  "Frequently our reaction to trial is like Job's.  At the beginning of his testing he reacted positively...but as time wore on and the trials, aggravated by the false accusations of his friends, continued, Job's faith and patience gave out.  But though Job's faith wore out, God's faithfulness did not. He stayed with Job until Job had learned the lesson of God's sovereignty, and then He gave Job twice as much as he had before.

  There's so much to rob me of joy if I entertain it.  I am so selfish and inward focused.  If I only had salvation in God, that is enough to be constantly joyful!  Yet He has given me even more than that in his kindness.  I deserve none if it!  Zero! Zilch!

  More tomorrow on the stepping stones to joy...

1 comment:

Anna said...

Thanks Lindsay,
what a great remider- It helped me put my mind on where it should be through trails I am facing. Be Joyful!