February 28, 2007

His Joy - my privilege

Today’s reading could be God is saying Amen to what I wrote yesterday. It is from Philippians 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

The joy of the Lord is produced by the Spirit of the Lord. It does not depend on circumstances, but is His delight, His over-flowing joy. God is a happy God, and because He lives in my heart, I am capable of experiencing His emotions of joy.

What makes God so happy?

John Piper wrote a marvelous book called The Pleasures of God. In it, he describes God as being delighted in Himself. Lest that sound narcissistic, think about it. God is perfect, without sin, flaw, short-comings in any way. He is the only perfect being. To delight in anything less is nonsense.

I know a little of what that means. When I obey Him and know that I’ve done something right and good, I’m pleased. I’m pleased with God, and I’m sure that pleasure comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in me, but at the same time it is a sort of pleasure with myself. I’m being what I was created to be and it feels good.

Besides that, God is exactly who He is. There is no pretense or pretension. He is all that any being can be and more. There is no darkness in Him, no evil, no lies, no imperfections. If I was like that, I’d be happy with myself too.

When I think about Him and the glory of Him, even as I write these words, the sense of His joy bubbles up in me. Rejoicing in Him is as simple as turning my thoughts away from everything else and just thinking about who He is, what He does, the beauty of Him.

God let’s me see Him—another reason to be joyful! People who don’t know Him cannot see Him, or fathom the grandeur that is in Him. He must reveal it, but He does not make Himself inaccessible. As Scripture says, He can be seen in creation; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19). Doesn’t the beauty in the natural world tug our hearts into a smile?

He can also be seen in His Word, the entire Bible being a revelation of who He is and what He has done, both in history and in those who believe in Him and those who do not. He says that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” If we read it, our eyes are opened to who He is, what He is like.

The plainest revelation is in Jesus, “who (is) the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person . . . .” Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, the very expression of God in a human body. All I need to do is look at the person of Jesus Christ and I rejoice.

I see God in others too, but not always, and not in everyone. He is visible in those who know Him and who allow Him to fill them with Himself (instead of selfishness, self-rule and sin). He reveals His glory in His people, a glory that isn’t seen nearly as often as it should be or could be, but nonetheless is there, waiting for us to let Him have the preeminence.

One way I can do that is by rejoicing in Him, just letting His joy be seen and heard for what it is, the fruit of His Spirit and the strength of my life. This is a good way to begin today.

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