WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2017
Key Bible Verse: I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10, NIV)
61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
6 but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.
8 For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.
Though we are realistic about this world, we are called to celebrate and walk in joy. Something about happiness is profoundly world-overcoming. Something about happiness in Christ is victorious for his kingdom. It pokes the Devil in the eye. It destroys strongholds of darkness, releases prisoners, and lets the poor hear good news. Something about happiness strikes a blow. I like that. “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, RSV).
Yes, to walk with Christ is better than to walk without him. Go ahead and say it. Actually it’s part of the gospel message. It isn’t as though Jesus has kept this happiness hidden. It is part of almost every story he told! “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full,” Jesus said to his disciples in John 15:11 (ESV). Not only that “my joy” might be instilled in you, but that “your joy” might be full. Those are different joys. God’s joy and our joy. Parable after parable reveals Jesus’ investment in joy.
God is invested in our joy. An honest response to that—an intellectually and spiritually honest response — is to be happy. Maybe we should take that seriously.
– Tim McConnell in Happy Church
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