Christmas brings expectations of joy, doesn’t it? We expect to be full of joy when we receive the gifts that top our wish list, or when we get to spend time with family we haven’t seen in a while, or when we participate in long-standing holiday traditions.
But what happens if Christmas looks vastly different this year? Or what happens after the day itself is just a memory? Sure, those things we look forward to may bring feelings of happiness, but how long do those feelings last? Is there still joy to be found?
Absolutely! I’ll share just a few ways to find joy, for your today and tomorrows.
Realize Your Ransom
If you have become a follower of Christ, you have accepted His ransom for your life which frees you from the law of sin and death. You belong to God, who is perfect love!
“I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me.” (Psalm 71:23 NLT) Do you remember the darkness that was your life before Christ came on the scene to rescue you? The darkness was all you knew, but now you are free to live as a child of light!
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (Psalm 32:1-2; see also Romans 4:7-8) You know partially what your record said before Christ ransomed you. The ledger was full of ways that you didn’t measure up to God’s standard of perfection, either by choice or by default. But now that ledger has been wiped clean, and you are fully accepted as a child of God! I’d say that’s worth a shout!
“With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!” (Isaiah 12:3)
Not only are we ransomed, we are also reconciled to God. “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:22) We know what we deserve, but through Christ we’re not getting it! We’ve exchanged judgement and condemnation for grace and mercy! Are you feeling any joy yet??
Don’t let familiarity with the message dull your gratitude for this precious treasure.
In God We Trust
“O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.” (Psalm 84:12) When we truly place our lives in God’s hands and trust the outcomes to him, our anxieties and worries can be replaced with joy. Whether we live or die, we win!
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
What is one area of your life that you have a difficult time leaving in God’s hands?
Review as You Look Ahead
Are you wondering what’s coming down the highway of life in your direction? Take some time to look back and remember what God has done for you in the past. Remind yourself of his goodness, and find joy to carry you into the future. “Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!” (Psalm 126:3)
Are you in a very tough season of life? Most of us could answer a resounding “YES!” to that question this year. Even so, the definition of a tough season varies greatly from one person to the next. But know that this life is not the end. No matter the storm clouds gathering on the horizon, there will come a time where there will be no more tears. “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” (1 Peter 1:6)
How have you seen God show himself faithful to you in the past? He is still and He will always be faithful!
Live in Love
We should live the remainder of our days in service to others out of gratitude for what God has done for us. In doing so, we discover another level of joy! “Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble.” (Psalm 41:1)
Not only are we to serve others, but we show our love for God by loving others as Christ has loved us. We find joy in treating others right instead of grappling for our own advancement. “There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right.” (Psalm 106:3) Not treating others right should weigh on our minds, either through conviction or an expectation of coming retribution!
“The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart.” (Psalm 19:8) And what did Christ command us? “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Loving others will bring us joy.
How can you be the hands and feet of Christ today, bringing his love to someone who desperately needs it?
Realize your ransom, trust God with your life, remember his faithfulness as you walk into the unknown, and share his love with others. Joy is yours for the taking!
Originally posted December 2018. I needed this reminder to myself, so I’m sharing with you!