Daily Lent Devotional #43 (4/20/2011)

Today’s Devotional Topic:   “Be Joyful”

Today’s Scripture:   John 15: 5, 9-11

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

I have a challenge to issue for today’s devotional. 🙂

Ask yourself this question…what do you typically fight harder for:  joy or sadness?  Do you fight harder to stay angry or labor to stay joyful?  It is heartbreaking to see people who seemingly fight to stay depressed or mad, rather than work to stay joyful.  There are a whole bunch of reasons for this, each being somewhat unique to every person.

My challenge for us all is to fight for joy.  Despite the circumstance of our days, the actions of those around us, or our past; let us labor for joy…scratching and clawing for it…rather than abandoning it so quickly during hard times.  In closing, here are some more words from author Henri Nouwen on the topic of true joy.

Take the challenge…fight for joy! 🙂

Somehow joy is much harder to express than sadness. It seems that we have more words for sickness than for health, more for abnormal conditions than for normal conditions. When my leg hurts, my head aches, my eyes burn, or my heart stings, I talk about it, often in elaborate ways, but when I am perfectly healthy I have little, if anything, to say about those parts of my body.

Does this mean there is less joy in life than sadness? Perhaps. But it is also possible that joy is in fact a deeper, more intimate, more ‘normal’ condition than sadness and pain, and therefore harder to articulate. Words about joy often sound trite, superficial, or sentimental and seldom seem to touch us as deeply as words about anguish, fear, and pain. They seldom seem to reach the source.

For Jesus, joy is clearly a deeper and more truthful state of life than sorrow. He promises joy as the sign of new life… Here we see the essence of joy. Joy is always new. Whereas there can be old pain, old grief, and old sorrow, there can be no old joy. Old joy is not joy. Joy is always connected with movement, renewal, rebirth, change — in short, with life…Jesus connects joy with the promise of seeing him again. In this sense, it is similar to the joy we experience when a dear friend returns after a long absence. But Jesus makes it clear that joy is more than that. It is ‘his own joy,’ flowing from the love he shares with his heavenly Father and leading to completion. ‘Remain in my love . . . so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.’


Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 7:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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