August 6, 2013

Carried by Joy

Weddings are most often joyful occasions, as is the honeymoon. So also is that spiritual union Christians have with Jesus Christ, the ultimate Bridegroom, only with Him the honeymoon is never over. One reason is that amazing reality of belonging: “My beloved is mine, and I am his….” (Song of Solomon 2:16)

Another reason is His assured and eternal provision. Because I belong to Jesus and He belongs to me, we share everything. He takes my sin, I get His righteousness. I am also given His eternal home.

Apparently, the ancient Romans had a custom whereby when a new wife was brought home, she was given the keys of her spouse’s house, committing to her the treasure and custody of the house. In similar fashion, when Christ brings His bride to the home He is now preparing for me (and all His followers), He will also hand over the keys and we will be as rich as heaven can make us.

Another reason is the spiritual fruit Jesus brings into the marriage, the joy of the Lord. In being made one with Him, that alone calls for joy, but the joy He gives is part of His nature and therefore part of the union. This joy is a “for better or for worse” joy and because it comes from Him rather than circumstances, it is mine all the time.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17–18)

The only times I cannot rejoice is when I harbor sin in my heart. Actually, it is a sin NOT to rejoice. This dishonors my heavenly spouse and grieves His joyful heart. Certainly there are times to feel sorrow, pain and weeping, but as the above verses say, I can be joyful in Him even when other things are less than perfect. Joy is about Him, not about having everything go my way.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

Christ loves a cheerful bride. It’s very likely that the purpose of sadness is to give Him opportunity to make us rejoice. We sow in tears and reap in joy. Excessive sadness could make others afraid to embrace Christ, while our joy even in life’s challenges is a testimony to His grace and power.

Joy is also power, my source of strength. The Bible says this to God’s people when they were mourning their sin…

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Being a happily married woman is a good thing. Being happily united with Christ is even better. Jesus gives me a delight that no one or nothing can take away. He saved me more than forty years ago, and even though I disobey and disappoint Him far too often, He still carries me on the wings of joy.

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