Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's totally possible to walk in joy!

Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him,will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."  John 4:13,14

It's totally possible, in this world with all it's problems, to walk in the joy and power of God.  It's possible to walk in victory no matter our circumstances.  It's possible to be thankful when things are hard and don't go our way.  It's possible to have abundant life right while we live in our bodies for this short time God has given us on earth.  In fact, I believe it's our destiny, our right, our inheritance as children of God.

So then why do so many Christians live joyless, struggling lives?  I think part of the reason, if not the whole reason, is that we live by our emotions and our own thinking rather than by the word of God.  We choose to live by sight and emotion rather than faith.  We trust in what we see and feel and form our view of reality based on that, rather than on what God says.  Why would we do that when it means defeat and struggle?  Because what God says is not immediately tangible and it goes against what we see and feel.  It often contradicts the physical reality around us and within our soul.

I lived a joyless, struggling life for years, seeking answers, yet finding none.  Finally when I was about to give up, truth was revealed to me and I believed.  I began to understand that what was within me was new life.  Everlasting life.  And I never have to thirst again.  I have been filled with God and made new in Him.  He is within me and I live within Him. His life flows into my spirit: the new part of me that is whole, holy, clean and pure, 100% of the time.  The work of Jesus on the cross secured my freedom and made me completely new. Completely holy. Completely righteous.  His work is sufficient for me and there is nothing I have to do or could do to improve on His work.  All I need to do is accept it and believe that it's finished!  In this there is incredible joy!

And the praise goes to God!  Not to me and my efforts. Not to a certain Bible study or teacher.  Not to certain methods or ways of praying.  Just to God and what He did in Jesus Christ to set me free. All honour and glory is His. And it's true for all of us who are His. The life within us is Him. The joy within us is Him.  The peace within us is Him.  The love within us is Him.  He is our life and our life is forever joined with His. He is the life force that flows within, filling, leading, teaching and guiding us according to His will for His glory and Name.

It's totally possible to live in joy and peace in this world.  Even in sickness. Even in crisis.  Even when things are going well and we have plenty.  Because our joy is not external. Our joy is a Person who lives within us like living water, a well that never runs dry.  Jesus is the life of the Christian life.  So we fix our eyes on Him. He has authored our faith and now He is perfecting our faith. He is teaching us to believe Him and to live according to His word, not according to the world or our feelings or our views.  We are a created to live according to His view which He reveals through the Spirit of God with in us.  He teaches us the ways and thoughts of God, opening our minds to receive the truth and believe.  So we fix our eyes on things unseen, the eternal words and reality of God. Kingdom reality. The Kingdom we cannot see, but that is greater than anything we can see. The Kingdom that influences all things and reigns over every being, everything of all creation.  All creation moans with longing for the sons of God to be revealed, the reality of the Kingdom to take over and be what it fully is.

One by one, as we believe and walk in the unseen, the power of the unseen impacts the seen world around us.  People's hearts turn toward God as God moves us near them.  He  speaks through us words that ignite their hearts and minds as He draws them to Himself.  Eternity impacting the destiny of generations, as one person after another repents and turns to the only One who can save them.  He stirs up an awareness of sin, of how far we have fallen from His glory.  And reveals the penalty for our sin. We grieve over the cost and we pray for forgiveness, receiving the sacrifice of the One man Jesus, who died to set us free from our sin and bring us to the Father.  And we are made new.  Totally. Completely.  From that moment on and forever.

Never do we have to work for this freedom we have received.  All we need to do is believe and thank the One who set us free.  Who gave His life and conquered the grave for us. Who conquered the evil one for us.  Who conquered the power of sin when He put a new spirit within us and circumcised us away from all sin.  He sealed us with Himself and nothing can touch us now. We are safe. We are secure and whole.  Now our work is to believe Him at His word.

He didn't take us out of the world.  It might have been easier if He had.  But He didn't.  He left us in the world, in our bodies that have a memory of the sinful lives we used to live.  He didn't erase our memories, but tells us to take all thoughts captives  now, into obedience to Christ.  Do not let sin reign that you should obey it in  its lusts.  We fix our  minds on Christ. On His truth. Looking to Him to teach us and reveal what He wants us to know.  We look to Him and we rise on wings like eagles. We walk and we do not grow faint, we run and do not grow weary.  We soar. No matter what our circumstances because the soaring is within our hearts, in the unity we have with the Spirit of God.  We are one with Him and He, amazingly, is one with us.  He flows in and through us, strengthening us, filling us, overflowing through us to the lives of others.

Oh Lord, would You open the eyes of our hearts to know You?  Would You open our minds to receive Your truth and believe You, looking beyond what we see and feel to what is really real and alive within us.  To who we are in You and who You are in us.  We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, but apart from You we can do nothing!  We are joined to You and You are eternal life. Our life is in You, Lord. You will never leave us or forsake us. You cannot. You have joined Yourself to us forever in this infinite plan of redemption. You have purchased us and reconciled us to Yourself, not just for our sake, but for the sake of Your glorious grace. Because You are God and You love us. Because You are good and You made a way to defeat the power of evil and cause good to reign on the earth once again. You are bringing all things back to what You originally intended, one redeemed person at a time.

Help us Lord, to look beyond ourselves and our life struggles. Beyond our families, our jobs, our wants and needs. Beyond our health problems. To look to the eternal plan of eternal life and eternal death.  Give us compassionate hearts to see the lost and dying people around us and to proclaim life to them.  Let us be lights set on a hill, attracting those who need You.  Let us not live for ourselves, but for You and Your glory.  Give us eternal vision to see beyond what we see with our eyes and to see Your glory and Your light!  Let Your living water flow through us into the lives of others who are drowning. They don't even know how desperate they are. They are blind and lost and need someone to show them the way.  Oh, Lord, let us be those people who are on mission with You.  Speak through us Lord and give us boldness to proclaim the mystery of Your plan, what You fulfilled in Your Son.  Be glorified in us.  Let eternity work through us as we love others as ourselves, Lord.