“Do you see God filled with joy?”

I had fun starting this blog today. I veered beyond the world of texting and calling, and used another feature on my phone, Voice Recorder! I found great joy when I went back to the recorded file, clicked the little red button and I heard myself speaking. JOY – technology worked and my ideas were safely retrieved from the vault in my Samsung.

Joy, or specifically the Lord’s joy has been on my mind. I am currently facilitating one of Beth Moore’s Bible studies and one of the questions to consider was “Do you embrace or struggle with the fact that our God is filled with joy?” The question followed a reference to John 15:11 where Jesus said, “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

I was leading the discussion, it was after a long work day, and I felt stumped. I wanted to enthusiastically say “Yes! I embrace it! I clearly picture the Lord with joy.”

But it wasn’t the answer that came to mind. I didn’t feel His joy at that moment. When I thought of God, images of purpose, mission and possibly even sternness came to mind.

In my busyness, joy sometimes seems too frivolous. How could God have joy? I know my heart. I know my sins. I read the paper. Yeah, clearly I was struggling with the fact that God is filled with joy. As the facilitator, I left feeling like I had missed an opportunity, and personally, I know from scripture that that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” But I didn’t feel equipped to champion the point.

Another thing that struck me from the Bible study was a comment that Beth Moore made in the recorded part of the session. “Independence is a sign of immaturity in the body.” It was time I phoned a friend for another view.

So I called my wise mother.

I loved her input to the topic. I asked her the question without sharing my perspective. I knew I wasn’t understanding this part of God’s character and I needed a fresh view.

I heard joy in her voice when she responded; she was embracing the fact that God is filled with joy – no struggle there. Where was she during my Bible study session? She shared that she especially feels His joy after she has spent time with Him in prayer.

Yep. That was it. We feel His joy when we are with Him.

And His joy was evident. He was glad that I made the connection. Her testimony brought to memory lots of times I have felt His joy in His presence. Or moments I have felt His joy when certain worship songs come on. Even the other night when I was listening to Jared Anderson’s song “I Am Free” I felt it. I believe God has great joy at the broken chains of His children.

Look at Isaiah 58:6-9 in the Message Bible.

 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’

Of course that brings Him joy. I feel it.

May you feel His joy today,
Shelli Muldoon

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2 thoughts on ““Do you see God filled with joy?”

  1. So…a “God thing” to read this today…Wednesday when I picked my daughter up from ccd she asked why is Jesus so mean? He seems so mean and stern. Of course this led to much discussion and her source of this conclusion has come from the film clips she has seen in classes over the years when movies are used to help teach or make a point. I have never been a fan of “God movies” even the supposed good ones because you are letting Hollywood so to speak (or wherever they come from…even well meaning Christian production companies) to give you a visual and even auditory perspective of who Jesus is. We only have 4 gospels of His words and I appreciate that they don’t usually ad lib too much what Jesus might have also said in movies but to fill in the blanks of who and what He said and who He is, comes in our personal time spent with Him. That is where we get to know Him to get to feel His love and come to know His joy. I’m saddened that this is her perspective and that it is also of many kids. I told her what irony is this…God is love and you leave religion class feeling the opposite. How that must sadden Him too. So, I’ve been praying for her to receive the grace to feel His love. To know His joy. I know she does, she just hasn’t connected where it’s coming from. I haven’t watched a movie about Biblical times for probably 15 years. I have no inclination to do so. Even when pressed from people I trust that I “need” to see The Passion. I knew I didn’t. I’m not saying that good can’t come from the movies but like everything, watching them should be discerned. And, as far as reaching children….there is a belief that the only way they can learn is through video/technology. I say the only way they can come to know our Lord is away from all of that! The world of social media, movies, and constant input does not recognize them as an individual child of God. It pushes them into a big pile of emotional rubbish through which they have trouble breathing. God knows them individually with their unique qualities and even a glimpse of that truth will let them feel His love and consequently lead them to feeling His joy.
    Sorry for the rambling!!

  2. Ramble on… this is all insightful stuff Jill! I love your sentence, “God knows them individually with their unique qualities and even a glimpse of the truth will let them feel HIs love and consequently lead them to feeling His joy.” One of my favorite quotes is “It is not your hold of Christ that saves you, it is Christ.” (Charles Spurgeon) I think the same kind of thinking applies here. It is not your understanding of Christ’s love that lets you feel His joy, it IS His love.

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