That is Good News! Joy is the outcome of complete trust in God
Published 10:38 am Saturday, December 21, 2019
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
There is a lot of promotion during the Advent and Christmas season to BELIEVE. Most of what we see and hear in movies, songs, advertisements and media centers around believing in Santa Claus and generally in the dream of peace coming true.
The challenge to believe is a constant task throughout most life.
We are often tempted to bail on believing that much of the traditional narratives of life are true, and we tend to slip into accepting life with a, “it is what it is” attitude.
One of the aspects of believing, especially during this season, is believing that joy is not only available for all people but that it is even probable for most people.
Obviously, for those who proclaim Jesus, Christmas is the ultimate proclamation of belief in accepting as true that “God became man and made His dwelling among us, Immanuel, God with us!”
In the Romans passage given above, Paul is not only stating a desire for Christians, but He is also challenging Christ-followers to believe that what is proclaimed is true and happens in real life. His hope and prayer is for believers would know hope, peace, and joy as they put their complete trust in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The challenge this week is to consider if we believe that joy is real and available for those who seek it.
In Paul’s words, the receiving of joy relates to trust. The necessity of trust is essentially the core value of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and requires believers to yield what controls and influences their joy quotient.
Happiness and joy are not the same.
Happiness is dependent on how we like or approve of our circumstances, how we feel about what is going on in life.
Joy, however, is the decision to have hope and peace, no matter the circumstances, because there is trust in God with the outcome of all of life’s realities. Without trust, joy cannot exist.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, 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.” 1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV
Peter explains the connection of trust in God and joy in the Lord so eloquently, especially as he describes joy as inexpressible and glorious. In this life, we can have joy in life events, joy in believing and most importantly, joy in trust, trust that God keeps His word, that He loves us and there is nothing we can do about that.
Joy is the outcome of complete trust in God.
Joy comes to those who have their confidence in Him by surrendering their hopes, expectations, and future to Jesus Christ.
To believe is to trust.
The proof of our belief comes in how we live our lives.
Our trust is shown in where we lean when life does not make sense. The joy of trusting is found in the tender cries of a baby named Jesus, who came to us so that we could know the hope, peace, joy, and love of our Heavenly Father.
Believe in the Joy of Christ as you trust in God, you will not regret it. That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.