Thursday, May 3, 2012

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. .....Even angels long to look into these things.  Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 1 Peter 1:8, 12b-13.

The root of joy is again revealed to be Christ himself.  Not simple joy, but that which is inexpressible and glorious!  Because of the unchangeable God granting us all we need to believe, we see beyond now.  

In C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, the characters from hell find their day in heaven unendurable because the reality is so real.  The grass hurts their feet, because they are only used to a shadow of reality.  What we have here appears so solid, so real.  But in truth, Real Reality is much for real.  Our  joy is altered when we loose sight of what, and Who, is real.

The word used for glory (referring to our joy) is defined in Strong's dictionary for Greek words as:
  1. to think, suppose, be of opinion
  2. to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate
  3. to honour, do honour to, hold in honour
  4. to make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe with splendour
    1. to impart glory to something, render it excellent
    2. to make renowned, render illustrious
      1. to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged

The emphasis is mine, but I think that considering the context,these words are most appropriate.  Our salvation, a gift, gives us something to celebrate!  He is giving us something excellent.  And the here and now cannot dampen the joy of what truly is.

We are privileged to be granted these things that the angels year to comprehend.  Not because we are worthy.  Because He has chosen.

This joy is not self absorbed-seeking it's own happiness, making itself happy and wallowing in it's own hard -won feeling of satisfaction.  This joy is a result of the gracious gift of salvation from our Creator and Redeemer. And it spurs us to obedience and holiness.  Our joy starts in Him.  And our joy is not about us, it's about Him.

This is essential.  The pursuit of joy, in my mind, was so "self".  But joy is not a pursuit, it's a result of a gift.  Joy is not a lake with no out-flowing streams.  It's a "state of being" transformation that results in action, in purfication, in obedience.  Not a begrudging following of rules, but a glorious enabling to do what we have created to be and do.  

Romans 6:17-18NIV
17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

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