Joy; January 22, 2019

Matthew 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

It is going to be interesting over the next several months to figure out where in the passage the Greek preposition “in” appears. More literal translations might preserve the form, but at the expense of understanding for most readers. If memory serves me, the King James does say, “In him I am well pleased.” The Japanese expresses it as, “I rejoice [because of] him.” However, the point of reading the Bible each day is to hear what God is saying to us, not just gain academic knowledge. What this says to me is that if the Father finds joy in Jesus, how much more should we do so? We find joy and pleasure in all sorts of things, but many of them are fleeting indeed. The Bible, and human experience down through the centuries, tell us that the deepest joy is found in relationships, and most especially in our relationship with our Creator, our heavenly Father. The Father was fully pleased with Jesus because they were perfectly aligned, and Jesus was fully obedient – though fully human. Our greatest joy comes when we partake of that alignment by being in Jesus by faith. Conversely, that is when we are most pleasing to the Father. The study of joy in the Bible is a fascinating one, but what comes immediately to mind is John’s statement in his third letter, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4) That joy came to John because not only he but his spiritual descendants were in alignment with Jesus, who is Truth. (John 14:6) That is the joy we should seek, because it leads us into eternity.

I can never forget the moment of pure, unadulterated joy I had in a time of worship in a small prayer meeting several years ago. It was so intense that I asked God to back off a little, if He had anything else for me to do on this earth, because I didn’t think my physical body could take it. That was just a moment, but I have an eternity of such joy to look forward to! Addictive drugs are so powerful because they give tastes of a counterfeit joy that leaves people craving for more. When fentanyl, for example, is so deadly, you wonder why people would go near it, but they are hooked on the deadly euphoria. I’ve never tried drugs, but having tasted God’s joy, I’m certainly hooked! I have the privilege of telling people such joy is available, but I can’t force them to accept it. Sadly, “Just say no” seems to be the motto of too many people, spiritually speaking, when the opposite is true of physical pleasures. I am to speak God’s truth in love, praying that it will penetrate to set people free from the lies of the devil, who only wants to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)

Father, thank You for Your joy. I have no words that are adequate to express that, so help me live in such obedience and fellowship that You find joy in me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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