(Note: I found this photo for this post HERE.)
A dear friend of mine, Grant, pointed me to Romans 12. We are working on praying over and memorizing portions of this chapter together. This, along with several big conversations with some friends yesterday, directed me to 2 Cor 5 and Psalm 51. Between these three passages, I have been spun into a slower and more methodical meditation on true JOY IN CHRIST.
In general, I’ve experience a lot of joy in Christ, and I thought I’d just flesh out a little here regarding this for me. For the last year and a half or so, I’ve been telling friends who ask how I’m doing or what my concerns are for the future, “I just feel carried along by God in this season. I know He’s in control, and I just want to be fluid and shapable in His hands.” I’m less and less impressed with myself and more and more broken by my sin. Psalm 51 is so transformational for us as we submit to Christ. Create in me a new heart, Oh God! Restore to me the JOY OF MY SALVATION and renew a RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME. So much of our struggles aren’t ultimately to have better circumstances but to have joyful and God-trusting attitudes no matter our circumstances.
I’ll admit that I’ve been heavily dependent upon gleaning from others on this front. I don’t pretend to have joy figured out, but I know we all want it so badly and none of us wants to be dependent upon circumstances or the next highlight to find joy in the Lord. For every highlight, there is sure to show up plenty of low-lights or straight-up darkeness. Sin in our lives and the lives of our family and friends gets us down really easily. Sometimes it’s not even definable as sin, right? Sometimes it’s just disappointing weakness in ourselves or others where we thought we/they could have done better in an area.
You know this, but I’ll say it for our mutual edification: As we behold Christ’s death for us in our mind’s eye, we are changed day-by-day to be happy slaves so-to-speak. We begin celebrating God’s Word and the limits God places on our lives. We begin enjoying and appreciating concepts like obedience and boundaries. In marriage for instance, the more I embrace the covenantal love I am called to show Carrie, the more we grow in our marriage. My embracing of the boundaries of marital love and sowing to our romance and our life-long opportunity to be married and to really make this work… this results in grace upon grace in our marriage, because we are submitting to the boundary that we are all we have… there is no other pasture out there so-to-speak when it comes to expressing and receiving marital love and affirmation, no other place to demonstrate marital serving and giving and laying down our lives.
The same goes for friendships I believe. When we celebrate the limitations of our frames and times, we realize we can only be in one place at a time. God has set things up this way on purpose, so I’ll close encouraging each of us to be ALL THERE. Plug into showing the love of Christ to whomever God has put directly in front of you moment-by-moment. Put your smart phone away as often as possible and engage with the love of Christ controlling you more and more, and as I’m experiencing with much imperfection but genuine enjoyment, Christ will become more beautiful in our eyes and people more and more lovable and enjoyable as we make a practice of living out of the limitless love of Christ!