Passage of the Day: Romans 5: 11 … Not only is this so [i.e., truth, having been brought from death into eternal life], but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received reconciliation.
My Journal for Today: I embolden the phrase “we also rejoice” above; because a portion of the grace imparted into the heart of the believer, among the fruit of the Spirit, is JOY (see Gal. 5: 22 – 23). The Greek expression for this is “chara,” which means “to rejoice jubilantly” or “to be thrilled.” Several Psalmists declared such exultation like that expressed by Paul in today’s verse (see Psalm 33: 21; 34: 3; 43: 4). As John MacArthur states in Strength for Today, “As you make God the focus of your life, He will grant you an assurance that only He can give.” And one of the expressions of that assurance will be manifest in a joy that can be found even in moments that might normally produce fear or concern. That was the message of instruction expressed by Paul to his young protégé, Timothy, in 2nd Tim. 1: 7 [a verse you simply MUST MEMORIZE to avoid a spirit of fear].
So, you might ask, “Why don’t some, who claim to be Christian, feel this joy?” And the answer to that inquiry is clear, at least to me, from MacArthur’s quote and Paul’s admonition to Timothy. … When we focus on self over Savior, we separate ourselves in our will from the will of God. Our pride creates a self-imposed barrier to the fruit of joy which comes from God’s grace. We’ve read this truth before in such verses as 1st Peter 5: 6 or James 4: 6 [both great verses to have deeply memorized], both of which are quotes from the, Proverbs 3: 34. And right now, as I have my morning time with God, I’ve been led to listen to a wonderful song, written and sung by Laura Story, entitled Blessings, express this truth about as well as can be told. Hence, I link you here to hear this praise song.
God has boundless and endless joy ready to burst forth in the midst of our concern; but when we get prideful or self-centered, expressed in such self-driven and sinful emotions as reactionary anger, long-term bitterness, or greed, we cannot expect God to pour forth with His fruit of joy. So, the experience of joy, which is a wondrous assurance of our salvation, can only be realized when we CHOOSE God’s grace in our surrender of our will to His.
When are we going to get it?!! When are we going to receive God’s grace by our willful surrender rather than our willful pridefulness? When are going to walk into God’s shower of joy to be cleansed of our selfishness and drenched in the exultation of our relationship with our Lord?
Who knows! We choose … self … or Savior?
My Prayer Today: I surrender, Lord; and Your joy is mine! Amen