God delights in you. You are His beloved. We have all heard it, but do we really believe it? Do we see the evidence in our lives?
I am part of an online prayer group that developed over the past several months. It started with just 3 or 4 of us and has developed into a group of 7 women. Some of us have never even met. We celebrate joys and cry for each other’s suffering, but most importantly we pray. Over the past several months there have been many answered prayers. Most recently one of the group members got into her dream school. When praying for her I didn’t know for sure that this was the school for her. My prayer was that God’s will be done and that he know the desire of her heart. It’s amazing that His will and her dream were perfectly aligned, and her prayer was answered in just the way she imagined. As she announced the news to the group she said, “I’m shaking!” As I read the news I imagined God’s response to His dear daughter’s excitement, like a parent able to give his child her dream. My response, “Imagine God shaking with excitement along with you.”
Every God-given joy is multiplied when you reflect on His response to your joy. It comes full circle. He gives joy, we show joy, He rejoices. Happiness doesn’t do this.
Last Sunday I met with my small group and discussed sin. It was the topic of our discipleship chapter. One person asked something like, “Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you weren’t a follower of God? Did you ever try it out even for just a season?” I admitted I had. In college I thought perhaps I could believe in God and still do whatever I wanted in pursuit of happiness. From that experience I learned that happiness is fleeting, but joy lasts even in our sobriety, even in our solitude. If you find you always need someone around, a drink in your hand, a comedy on TV to be happy then you aren’t experiencing joy. And one thing I’m slowly learning is that I can’t believe in God and do whatever because it feels good and be a follower of Jesus. For one it feels so double-minded, like multiple lives. Secondly, it snuffs out all joy. There are several other reasons, but these are most relevant to the topic at hand.
If you are seeking joy over fleeting happiness try this:
- Read a Psalm and underline every promise, every characteristic of God. If you would like to read Psalm 23, the Shepherd’s Prayer click on the link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+23&version=NIV
- Write all the underlined words and phrases inserting the pronoun “You” for God and “I” for yourself. So that when you read it they are God’s promises specifically to you.
- Now sit back and experience the joy you have in hearing those words. Remember, they are for you, His beloved.
- Reflect on God’s response to your joy in hearing His promises. Is he shaking with excitement?
- Watch this video, read the lyrics, even sing or dance along. Revel in it.
Enjoy your day!