JOY; March 24, 2022

Psalm 69:5-6 You know my folly, O God;
my guilt is not hidden from you.
May those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me,
O Lord, the Lord Almighty;
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me,
O God of Israel.

David made numbers of mistakes in his life, some of them pretty severe, but the attitude expressed here was what kept God from discarding him. He was well aware that nothing was hidden from God, and he desired that others be protected from the consequences of his sins. Sin is essentially selfish, focused on what feels good or seems advantageous for the individual. When others are involved, as in cases of abuse and the like, those others are seen as less, even less than human in some cases. David didn’t do that, and it was greatly to his credit. We are never to lose our sense of self, because we are individually created and loved by God, but being aware of God and of the people around us is essential for genuine happiness and fulfillment. That’s why Jesus said the most important commandments were to love God and to love our neighbor. (Matthew 22:37-40) God’s commands are always for our benefit, so this is entirely logical. The more we love God and care about our neighbor, the more we will fulfill the purposes for which we were created and find the satisfaction and joy that we crave. This fits in perfectly with the acronym JOY – Jesus, Others, Yourself. When that is the genuine priority of our hearts, we will indeed experience the joy we desire.

I think I’ve always been aware that God knew everything I did, but that didn’t keep me from doing some things I knew full well weren’t pleasing to Him! I do think I have desired that others not suffer for my mistakes, but that doesn’t mean I have taken others into account sufficiently. The more I have grown in this, the more joy I have indeed experienced. Recently the JOY acronym has come up again in the teaching the Lord is giving Cathy on prayer. This priority lineup applies there, too! When I pray, my focus must first of all be on the One to whom I am praying. Then I am to focus on being His instrument of grace toward others, knowing that as His will is done for them, they will be blessed. After that, I am to pray for what I see as my needs, knowing that God is more aware of them than I am, and trusting Him to supply what is right for me. Just three weeks ago I preached on Intercession, but I am feeling strongly that I am to go even more basic for this coming Sunday, because people won’t be interceding for others if they aren’t praying in the first place. I need to help them understand the simplicity, privilege, and joy of prayer, so that they can then progress into the depths and heights of prayer, wielding God’s spiritual weapons effectively (2 Corinthians 10:4) to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and liberate many for eternal salvation.

Father, thank You for all You are doing. It’s exciting, and a little bit overwhelming. Thank You for all the blessings You’ve been pouring out on this congregation, and for the assurance that You’ve only just begun. I pray that we wouldn’t miss what You are doing in any way, either holding back or deviating from the course. It’s clear we have neither the wisdom nor the strength to do it on our own, but that’s no problem if we are submitted and obedient to You. May we indeed fulfill all of Your purposes for us, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

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