To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2016 Issue – Straight from the Heart, ‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’ Philippians 1:7
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Philippians 1:4 (NIVUK): “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy“
[How did you go yesterday, were there many people who came to mind who have been a special blessing in your life? It’s good to thank God for sending these people into your life and to offer up a prayer for them.]
In today’s study Paul talks about joy and he first tells us the difference between joy and pleasure.
He writes: “Joy is quite different from pleasure: pleasure comes to us usually from things that affect our senses such as a beautiful sunset or the birth of a child. But all these things are vulnerable to disappointment, even tragedy and loss.
Joy, the joy that comes from God, is something that can never be taken from us. … Christian joy – the joy that flows into our hearts by the Holy Spirit – is independent of circumstances.”
In a worldly sense, the word joy can be used to express happiness or bliss, and so, like pleasure the emotion we feel depends upon our circumstances. The ‘joy’ Selwyn talks about is related to the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
It is a joy that comes from our relationship with Jesus, it is knowing through faith that we are part of His eternal family and nothing can take that relationship away from us. Consequently, only a child of God can experience this type of spiritual joy.
This idea is described for us, in 1 Peter 1:8-9, “Though you have not seen Jesus, 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 end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
In conclusion those who follow Jesus and love God with all their heart, mind and strength will experience an inexpressible and glorious joy. It is this joy that Paul experienced when he prayed for the Philippians and we can experience the same joy when we are undertaking God’s work through our prayers and loving actions.
Do you agree?