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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Learning Joy and My 4 Year Old

The word rejoice, as a verb, found in the New Testament comes from a word that is connected to grace. It appears 68 times in the New Testament. The noun form, joy, is also related to the word grace (charis) and it's found 59 times in the New Testament. This word is not connected to our word happiness. Joy or rejoice is connected to our relationship with Christ. It is because of his grace given to us that we can rejoice or have joy in any circumstance, whether good or bad. Paul was in jail, ready to be executed when he wrote to the Philippians, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again:  Rejoice." Philippians 4:4

Joy is not dependent on our circumstances. It can be experienced in deep suffering. (see 2 Corinthians 6:10, 8:2; Romans 5:3) It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is not something naturally coming out of our hearts. It is Spirit produced. It is fruit not a work produced but a result of us abiding in Christ (John 15:1).

Joy is connected to our attitude or perspective we have about things. When we focus on the bad things that happen, and not on the grace we have received from God, we lose or joy. When we focus on the temporal as opposed to the eternal, we lose our joy.

My four year girl old teaches me what joy should look like in my life. Granted, due to her age, she is more dependent on her circumstances, but still yet, she shows me what my perspective should be as a Christian who needs to rejoice. From the moment she gets up, she has a big smile. I literally pull her from her bed every morning and it never fails that she says to me "Good morning, Daddy!",  and gives me a kiss. She has great delight in dressing up. Her smile is evident when I give her what she will wear. Eating times are also her delight. Throughout the day, whether it is running, doing a small chore, doing a puzzle or anything else, she exudes a spirit of joy. Her life is characterized by it. Is is no wonder to me why Jesus said that unless we are like children, we cannot enter his kingdom. Children have a keen ability to believe, to have joy.

I thankful that God has entrusted me a little girl that teaches me about joy. Each day I need to look up to the Lord and focus on Him and not on my circumstances. Each day I need to repent when my attitude and my life does not show joy. I need to call on Him to fill me with His Spirit so I may rejoice.


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