Joy is our portion Malachi 4.2 ESV– But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. Forced joy is better than genuine depression. The cause for our joy is not the absence of unsettling circumstances, but […]
December 12, 2022
Joy is our portion
Malachi 4.2 ESV– But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
Forced joy is better than genuine depression. The cause for our joy is not the absence of unsettling circumstances, but in the midst of it all, God is still our father, and He is still good. After the sad Sabbath, when Mary Magdalene is weeping, she has an encounter with her Lord which turns her mourning into dancing. His resurrection changes the whole story. Even in the middle of all chaos, we can leap like calves and rejoice for Jesus, who has come into our lives. With Him, he has brought all of the kingdoms of God, which includes righteousness, peace and joy. The only way to respond to any problems is by rejoicing. Even though Paul and Silas were in prison and chained, yet they sang and praised God. Know that we do not sing for chains to fall; we sing for the chains have already fallen.
Joy is our way to break out of depression. Most of the time, we are busy holding pity parties, narrating our hardships, sickness and problems. We elevate these miseries and try to remain victim minded. In our pity party, we host fear, guilt, shame and condemnation. We, for so long, have become comfortable in our misery. We love sympathy from people. However, our reality has been replaced by the message of the cross. We are not negating the seen realities, however, when we are stopping the things of the world from dictating our lives. Only Jesus gets to dictate our lives. We are no longer terrorised by sickness, shame, or guilt. Even when our feelings, circumstances and reasoning tell us differently, let us be receptive to the Word of God. We can break our way into victory through joy. If we miss the joy in our lives, we miss one-third of the kingdom.
Romans 1:17 ESV – For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
The righteous of God shall live by faith, not by salary, bread, or anything temporal. Most of s want to trust God at the end of the month because we are short of resources. Nevertheless, for us, in all seasons and all times, God is the source. The same faith that works at the end of the month will also work for the beginning of the month. The word Gospel means ‘too good to be true.’ To understand the same, let us imagine a war between a strong nation with modern technologies and a great army and a weak nation with a handful of resources and small manpower. There was no hope for the weak army to win.
However, the war’s outcome was that the weak nation defeated the strong one. When their messenger would come from the battlefield to declare their victory, it would be news which is too good but beyond the faculty of imagination for people. The gospel of Jesus was news
of that kind.
Romans 1:16 ESV – For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Though the gospel of Jesus was news which was too good to be true, the symbol of the cross was a reason for many Christians enough reasons to be ashamed of the Gospel. In the culture of that time, hanging on the cross was the capital punishment given to the people. The cross was used as a symbol of the death penalty by the Romans. The Roman government publicly crucified people to persuade people to be cautious of committing similar crimes.
If we look at the picture of the cross without Jesus, then it is shameful. Jesus was hanging naked, bruised, crushed and beaten upon the cross. This imagery of the cross was not something to boast about but shameful. He took our shame, sickness, sin, guilt, and weeping on Himself. God used the worst punishment in the world then and brought redemption to humankind and creation in totality. As much as Jesus redeemed us by the cross, He redeemed the cross. It no longer remains the symbol of shame but is the symbol of glory and redemption.
Colossians 2:6-7 ESV – Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
To receive Jesus as our Lord, we neither climb mountains nor bathe in some river. We received Jesus by faith. We believed what God had done through Jesus on the cross, through his death and resurrection. After receiving him, we must live our daily life by believing that Jesus has redeemed everything on the cross, and we will experience resurrection in our homes, offices and other places. Jesus not only delivered us from sin but from worries, anxieties, sickness and conflicts. Salvation is not something that happens in heaven. In heaven, we do not need salvation. Salvation (greek word: sótéria) is more than forgiveness of sins. It includes welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, and
safety. Now His resurrection power flows through us. Therefore, whatever we touch experiences the power of salvation, and it prospers.
Psalm 91:16 ESV – With long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
There is so much in God’s salvation that it will take us a long time to see His salvation. Some events or mishaps make us think that we have seen enough of life, and we start waiting for the Lord to take us to the sweet shore of heaven. However, God has called us into long life so that we can see the whole package of His salvation. When he was 120 years old, Moses did not have dim eyes or feeble feet, and he could climb mountains. His lifespan should be our most petite reference point for young life. Psalmist says that God redeems our life. And then He renews our strength like the youth (Psalms 130). Thus there shall be no weak, feeble, or old person in the kingdom because God renews our strength. The kingdom of God is very opposite to this world. In the kingdom of God, we do not grow from strength to weakness but go from strength to strength. The just who live by faith begin their journey in faith and continue it in faith. We move from glory to glory. With each
passing year, there is more strength for us to enter. It will take a long life for us to see God’s salvation.
There are no old age illnesses, weaknesses or mid-life crises in Christ. We must not forget how Caleb, in his eighties, defeated giants and possessed the land God promised. In the salvation of God, there is the provision that keeps us from the decay of time. Therefore, we must have all hope and excitement for the future. Unlike the predictions of the experts of this world, who prophesy decay, recession and chaos, we must see what the Word speaks. We are not called to live by the surveys and news reports. We live from faith to faith. We develop our faith by listening to the Word of God, but listening to the news can invoke fear. Young people avoid getting married, assuming they will lose the fun and add responsibilities to their lives. Many married couples apply the same philosophy of the world as they delay having children. However, responsibility does not mean that the time of delight and enjoyment is over. Responsibility adds another dimension of delight. Word
says he who finds a good wife finds favour, which means marriage is a blessing. Likewise, the word says that children are a heritage from the Lord. So do not neglect God’s blessings because of the world’s philosophies.
Proclaim the Gospel
The message of the gospel is that Jesus has won the victory on our behalf. Therefore, we won. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to those who believe (1 Corinthians 1.18). Gospel is the message of the cross, which has become the power of God unto salvation. If we want to see the power of God, we have to proclaim it without shame. The proclamation of Jesus’ victory on the cross releases the power of God unto salvation. The criteria for the power of God to be revealed in our life is that we need to believe in the gospel.
If we believe and proclaim the Gospel, the power of God starts working in our life. In other words, the gospel will not work unless we do not believe and proclaim it. The loudspeakers are developed with the potential to amplify the sound, but we have to play music to hear the amplified sound. Likewise, the gospel can become the power of God unto salvation, but we have to proclaim it by faith. Proclaiming the gospel is not a one-time event but a daily assignment.
2 Corinthians 4.13 ESV– Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak.
We have received the spirit of faith that speaks. The gospel, the power of God unto salvation, gets activated in our life when we declare it. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10), and faith works by speaking. The spirit of faith is alive, and it speaks. Instead of speaking about our problems and chaos in the circumstance, let us speak faith. Moreover, if we do not have faith to speak, let us keep quiet and listen to the Word so that the word will encourage us to speak. Let the Word of God germinate in our lives so that we can speak the word of God.
The Gospel says that everything that we are shameful about and guilty of and needs redemption has been taken care of upon the cross. We have to make it practical, not just for the forgiveness of sins, but for our daily life. So, when we go to the office and there is an important presentation, rather than being scared, know that fear does not have a hold on us. The cross has redeemed the work of our hands. We are the righteousness of God and bold as the lion. So our confidence to face all kinds of reports, projects, and crises comes from the Lord. No bad news of the economic crisis can bother us as we are not living on a salary. We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4).
Spiritual becomes Physical
In the wilderness, God gave manna to his people. Manna is known as the food of angels. The spiritual food of angels became physical food for the people to eat. Anything in the spiritual realm can become physical.
Hebrews 11.3 ESV– By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Everything that we see in the physical comes from the spiritual world. The Word of God has created everything in the cosmos. Faith is our source of understanding and not reasoning or common sense. Even when there is no money in the bank, in a period of recession or sickness, the people of faith continue to experience abundance and wholeness of all kinds. The people of faith live by the Word, which says we have everything that pertains to life and godliness in the knowledge of God (2 Peter 1). So we are not waiting for circumstances to change, but for God’s word to become the physical thing we need. The world has the capacity to become whatever we want.
Habakkuk 3.18 ESV– Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
For a long time, we have been waiting for circumstances to rejoice. Do not let circumstances define the mood or say, “I have mood swings. I have hormonal issues.” Do not keep confessing things that we do not need to confess. We do not have mood swings. Emotions do not rule us; it is in our control because Jesus has redeemed and delivered us. Despite everything we feel and observe, the Word of God is enough for us to rejoice and experience the power of salvation. We are created from God’s word. We are what the Word says. Our joy comes from God of our salvation and not from our resources. When God created and accepted us in His beloved and called us His masterpiece, how dare we pity ourselves!
The Righteous Identity
2 Corinthians 5. 21 ESV– For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
The message of the gospel is that we are called into the nature of God. The nature of God is righteousness. We are not righteous because of what we have done. We are righteous because of what Jesus has done. Righteousness has become our identity. Righteousness and justice in the Bible mean the same thing. It means restoration. We assume it to involve punishment and torment, but the Kingdom of God is not like this world. The righteousness of God sets things right in our life. The righteousness of God has been imputed into us. Abraham believed in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Righteousness has been credited into our account without our work. Indeed, the gospel is available for all humanity. Moreover, when we believe and receive Jesus, righteousness is credited into our account by faith. If God had given us righteousness, somebody probably could steal it from us tomorrow. However, God has given us the identity of righteousness and not of a sinner or sick person. We are not what the world’s reports and labels put on us. We are God’s righteousness.
God Clothed Us
When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing that they noticed was their nakedness. When they realised they were naked, they hid and covered themselves with fig leaves. When God walks into the garden, they do not come to Him confidently wearing those fig leaves. Fig leaves cannot hide our nakedness. Therefore, after God spoke to them, He clothed them. If we try to clothe ourselves, we will always be not enough. We will always be naked, ashamed, guilty and hiding. However, even in our nakedness, if we come to God confidently, He will clothe us. God was not disgusted by the nakedness of Adam and Eve, which means our nakedness is not powerful to separate us from our Father God. However,
it is the fig leaves we use, which most often are our self-righteousness and pretence, that separate us from God.
If we come to God as we are with our sins, inability, sickness, and weakness, He is merciful to heal and restore us. He will completely clothe us in glory. However, if we come to Him wearing fig leaves, we will feel ashamed and guilty. Let us come to God as we are and allow Him to heal us. Indeed His righteousness has been credited to our account. Let the righteousness of God heal us and become our covering. The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. We must believe that when God looks at our nakedness, shame, and sickness, He is still good and will not turn His face away from us. We have to believe that God will restore us.
Hebrews 11.6 ESV– And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Faith is not just about believing God exists because even demons believe in the existence of God. However, demons cannot believe that God gives good rewards. Imagine a man has a car, and his son is taking the car out and meets with an accident. The son calls the father to tell him about the accident. The father would not ask about the safety and wellness of the son before anything. On the other hand, if the driver even gets a small scratch on the car, he will get scolded. We are not drivers in the Kingdom of God; we are sons and daughters of the Most High. Demons cannot see and believe God is a good rewarder because it takes a relationship. Our relationship with the Father allows us to taste and know His goodness.
We cannot please God without believing that God is good. So, we may come to God in our nakedness. If we can believe in His good nature, we will see the righteousness of God, setting things in order in our life. We cannot go back defeated from the presence of God. God always makes sure that we move from glory to glory.