When I was a child, we used to go to Scotland on holiday, and for a number of years we would travel up by sleeper train. We loved going to sleep on the bunk beds in the train, especially if we were allowed to be on the top bunk! I remember the thrill of waking in the morning to wonderful views of the Highlands. For my brothers and me, the journey was a great excitement – almost more exciting than the actual holiday we had when we reached our destination.
The Lord spoke to me about this recently, reminding me of the joy that can be experienced in the journey. It was during a particularly busy period, when I realised that instead of living in the enjoyment of each day, I was tending to look forward to the next time when my diary would be empty! He showed me that He wanted me to find joy in the journey with Him, and not always to be looking forward to the end of the journey.
Joy should be one of the hallmarks of a Christian. It is not the same as happiness, as it is not dependent on circumstances and on whether things are going well in our lives. We can find joy even in the worst of situations, because we have God with us. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, joy is part of the fruit that will grow (Galatians 5:22).
Jesus speaks about joy in John 15:10-11. He says: “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. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” It is clear from this that Jesus wanted His disciples to experience joy. He wants His joy to be in us, and our joy to be complete. He tells us that the key to this is for us to remain, or to abide, in His love, and the way we do this is by obedience to His commands. So obedience is a key to living in joy!
If joy seems to be lacking in my life at any time, I find that one of the best ways to find it again is to take my eyes off myself and to focus afresh on God and who He is. As I start to praise and thank Him for all that He has done for me, I am filled with joy once again. It is not dependent on my circumstances, but on who He is and what He has done for me. As it says in today’s verse, because we love Him and believe in Him, we can be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. I pray that we will all find that inexpressible and glorious joy in each moment as we journey with Him!
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