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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Jesus Follower’s Paradox of Joy

Fruitfulness is the product of the obedience of faith; the execution of actions of love in the fortitude of hope. Joy is one key ‘fruit’ in the Kingdom of God. Joy is a reward for having obeyed God:
“Joy is helping to pay for someone’s medical bills.”
— Bryan Loritts
We are not living any ‘practise’ life. There is no need to waste our time. Frustrating as it is to be anchored to a life that is a waste, tomorrow is a new day. It’s hope for a better expression of faith in order to obey God.
To obey God is true joy.
And to obey God is simple. It’s about the giving of one’s life so someone else may have life. It’s giving what we have so someone else may be uplifted. It’s forgetting what would be self-gratifying in favour of a better gratification – a gratification only God can give: Joy.
When we give up thought for ourselves in the moment – to give something to someone – a material thing, a courtesy, a compliment, a smile, etc – God gives us something we cannot procure any other place or way.
When we learn of somebody’s deep need, and we find we are able to help with that need, or even meet it entirely, we then have an opportunity. Is God saying, “Give!” or is it a case that we are to keep what could be given. Often it’s a case of discerning the moment. Sometimes it’s God’s will to retain a resource we could give, but most of the time it’s God’s will to hand over what could be used now.
Money, gratitude, materials, guidance, time, and other gifts are so very important, but they are only resources. We need to hold them lightly and not so tightly as the world would have us hold them.
The paradox remains: to experience joy we must let go of what we can’t hold, and hold onto what will not let go of us: salvation.
As we give and give our lives to giving, something strange happens. Suddenly our lives take on an unfamiliar purpose. God reveals things to us we never experienced before. Through another’s being blessed, we, too, are blessed. Joy is palpably simple, but it’s profoundly meaningful.
Joy will drive us into the heart of God every time. And being one with God will drive us into joy. Joy will take us places we’ve never been: passion, purpose, energy, growth.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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