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Glorious Joy

January 23, 2012

1 Peter 1:8-9 “8 Though you have not seen him (Jesus), you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

As a band and ministry, one of the things we absolutely love is when we see people at a show truly connect with the Lord.  As a worshipper, you can literally see the change in their face and in their body language.  It is as if someone flipped the switch, as if chains have been broken off of their body and they now can move in freedom.  A joy overcomes them.

You see, this physical change is the evidence of what Peter was talking about to Christians in this text.  You didn’t see Jesus.  But you experienced the hope and freedom of his love and grace.  And this expresses itself in joy.  Now, I’ve heard joy explained as that contentment you have in life because you know Jesus loves.  So because of this love, you can praise God and go through whatever comes your way.  That’s awesome.

But I don’t think that really gets at joy.  I do believe joy comes when we understand who we are in Christ.  But it is much more than just being content no matter what circumstance comes along.  Paul talks about such contentment in Philippians 4.  I have come to truly believe that joy means what it says.  We REJOICE, we celebrate, we dance around, praising God exuberantly no matter what happens.  That is what the disciples did in Acts 5:41.  After being whipped for sharing the Gospel, the apostles rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to suffer for Jesus.  This doesn’t sound like, “Oh, that was cool, I feel content” to me.  They rejoiced! They celebrated.  Another time, they actually worshipped and sang in jail.

No wonder Peter calls this inexpressible and glorious! It doesn’t make sense.  It is one thing to just sit around and “be okay” with your situation.  It is another thing to literally celebrate and rejoice for what God is doing even through your suffering.  So how joyous are we?  If we have this hope in Christ that we call our salvation, knowing that we are in his hands and unshakable, do we rejoice even when things go wrong and negatively for us?  May we be like those apostles who, “Left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41).

Amen.

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