Abundant Life

JOY: Inexpressible and Filled with Glory?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.Though you have not seen him, you love him. 
Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9

“Vanity,” says the Wise King Solomon, “all is vanity.” A mere vapor, a breath, a chasing after wind

Striving. Toiling. Journeying through valleys of darkness and despair. All is vanity.

As the psalmist says, teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12), God’s wisdom directs us to live both purposed and settled in the surety of our heavenly citizenship, our living hope, and our eternal inheritance that’s guarded by faith.

And faith is what? Assurance of what’s hoped for, evidence of what’s unseen (Hebrews 11:1).

Paul reminds us in Romans 8:18 that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. More so in 1 Corinthians 2:9, no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.

God’s gift of joy supersedes circumstance as a fruit of the Spirit, an overflow of walking by faith not by sight.

It’s inexpressible, beyond comprehension. It’s filled with glory, not on our own strength!

Pulling from Paul’s declaration in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,

  • Are we afflicted? You bet! But not crushed.
    My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
    The joy of the Lord is your strength! – Nehemiah 8:10
  • Perplexed? Sure! But not driven to despair.
    Happy are those that hear the joyful call to worship, for they walk in the light of your presence oh Lord. – Psalm 89:15
  • Persecuted? More and more! But not forsaken.
    I will never leave you or forsake you. – Hebrews 13:15
    I will not leave you Comfortless. – John 14:18
  • Struck Down? Inevitably! But not destroyed.
    Do not rejoice over me, my enemy, though I have fallen I will rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. – Micah 7:8
    Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. – Isaiah 40:31

Jesus said no one will steal our joy. It can’t be stolen, so how is it so often seemingly lost? Maybe it’s dropped? Maybe relinquished? Or maybe…it’s choked!

In the parable of the sower, some seeds fell on thorny ground and became choked rather than fruitful. Choked, by the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. Sounds like more of that vanity business to me! Chasing after wind we will surely miss out on the evidence of God’s promises by faith. We’ll be choked by the temporal when the eternal has been placed in our hearts as treasure to seek after, that no man can break in and steal.

King Solomon continues to say,

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

Find Enjoyment. Did you know the root word means to look for good, or, to make one’s soul see good! Amazing!

God has given us joy, the ability to look for (and see, by faith!) good in the midst of toil. Good. In Genesis, we remember that God looked on all He had made and declared it was good.

Eyes of faith can see God’s goodness, because His favor surrounds the righteous like a shield (Psalm 5:12).

He’s also given us wisdom and knowledge. Remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10); a humble, contrite heart pleases God (Psalm 51:17), and He blesses it. Wisdom directs the renewing our minds in order to test and discern God’s will—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. And so, a mind that is serving God harnesses wisdom and knowledge to live as a new creation—filled with the Holy Spirit and with inexpressible, glorious joy.

Hallelujah!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Psalm 16:11




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