Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
This is the last day of our Journey to Joy – the last day of our study of the beautiful book, Reclaiming Your Joy. We end by taking time to dwell upon the sacrifice of Christ. If joy is the assurance we have, because of our relationship and fellowship with God, then it is only possible because Jesus came to earth on a rescue mission. “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down My life only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.” (John 10:14-18). Jesus lived His life with this one purpose in mind: the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He saved us from eternal separation from God through His death on the cross. “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die (John 11:25-26). He saved us from this World, by showing us the way to die to self, so that we might live for Him: He, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross! (Phil 2:6-8). And Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again (2 Cor 5:14-15).
So, in 8 weeks, we have learned that joy does not mean what most people take it to mean – unrelenting happiness, or some ecstatic feeling of inexplicable bliss. Rather it is comfort in spite of uncomfortable circumstances; it is security amidst chaos. Joy comes from knowing to whom you belong: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. (1 Cor 6: 19-20a). Joy is knowing you are deeply loved regardless of what others may say, or do, to you…You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8). Please click here to watch a video about just how much Jesus loves you…
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever. (Psalm 23)
JustaGirl…just like you!
P.S. I’ll be back next week with our plan for the rest of the year and beyond…Until then, enjoy the birthday of our wonderful Savior and remember He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10b). I wish you and your family an abundant life this Christmas weekend!