I have been thinking about the state of the union lately. Not the country but our relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit and subsequently our family and friends.
I see our society so guarded,closed and cut off from one another. Everyone is just trying to survive another day, hold their job, their marriage, keep their house, their nice car at the expense of their union.
This frantic pace leads to no one being fully present to anyone least of all GOD.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
“The first service one owes to others in the community ( both our biological and church family) involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to “offer” something when they are together with other people. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.”
So what does all this have to do with Joy. EVERYTHING! God created us to be in community with Him and with others and when that is diminished all joy goes south. You see everything starts in our minds-the way we think and the way we feel and when our mind is centered on us and us alone within a self-centered survival mentality our heart flat lines and life stops like the walking dead we become.
I see the walking dead around me everyday in church and out of church. They populate the landscape. The angry, the irritable, the cynic, the manipulator, the fearful. In them they move, think and feel and have their being. Can it get any worse than that?
It it so pervasive even I have to guard and fight against it. How do I do it? By taking every thought captive that is one of self-centeredness and survival and replacing it with truth from God’s Word and the reality of who I am in God”s heart.
This leads me to a union life with Christ who in turns leads me back to being fully present to my family and friends which brings me joy in the face of hopelessness. This joy is not temporal it is eternal it is a pervasive sense of well being irregardless of the circumstances of my life.
Jesus tells us to Seek first HIS KINGDOM and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and all the survival stuff we frantically try to obtain in our own strength will be provided in lieu of our heavy lifting. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Will you try His way Christian? The Christian life is not going to be easy but Jesus clearly expects us to have it be abundant in His LOVE, JOY, PEACE, HOPE and FAITH. At present this is hard to find among us. It will never be found solely on a Sunday morning, it is found alone with just you and the Holy Spirit in God’s Word, in prayer, in silence and solitude, in submission and on and on we could go.
In closing let me try to make this easy and simple. Are you emotionally pretty miserable and relationally pretty disconnected?
Stop, slow down get alone with God and listen. He is waiting for you with great grace, great love and great power to restore your mind and heart with His LOVE, JOY and PEACE. There is plenty in this life to be outrageously JOYFUL for. SEEK HIM and YOU WILL FIND IT! Let Him start providing everything you strive for through a perfect union.