January 25, 2013

His joy becomes my joy

Jesus looks for and finds the lost. He compares His saving work with that of a shepherd who has lost one of his sheep and goes looking for it.
And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ (Luke 15:5–6)

I remember those days right after my Shepherd found me. More than once, I sat on the front step of my porch in the warmth of the sun experiencing the delight of being at peace with God. My joy that was a new, wonderful, never-before experienced joy. I didn’t know then but I do know now that those emotions were from God.

When Jesus enters the life of a repentant sinner, He brings with Him His entire Person, emotions included. When I am yielded to Him, I am very apt to experience His emotions. That means when Jesus rejoiced at “finding” me, I felt that same joy at the wonder of what had happened in my life.

It is the same with what some call “righteous indignation.” When evil happens, my response is anger and sorrow. Those too are the emotions of Jesus. Events that did not bother me in my BC days began to bother me as soon as He came into my life.

He also says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). I used to be envious of those who rejoiced, particularly if they had accomplished something and their joy was about themselves. I also ignored those who wept, not wanting to be involved in their negative emotions.

Jesus changed that indifference. He cares about others. He weeps alongside those with broken hearts. He cares when people succeed or fail, repent or harden their hearts. Because of Him, I can care also, but the caring is from Him.

Joy is the best gift though. When a lost soul is ‘found’ by the Savior, my heart soars. When a Christian grows spiritually, or uses their spiritual gifts, or is used by God to do great things, or has their prayers answered, I can rejoice with them — because the rejoicing Jesus lives in me and graciously allows me to feel His joy!

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