Focus on Joy

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. (1 Corinthians 2:14-15 ESV). While thinking about a picture to illustrate joy and the thought for today, I came across this one with Mary and our youngest grandson, Harris. He’s not quite sure what’s happening, but grandma is full of joy with him in her arms! This is not a result of the circumstances alone; it is rooted in the relationship she has with Harris. That’s the principle for us today. While we saw yesterday that the Holy Spirit is the one who personally produces joy in believers; today we shall see that He produces it by focusing our minds on spiritual things. Our reading today explains those are the very things which the natural man cannot receive. Specifically, he fills our hearts with joy by focusing our minds, not on joy itself, but on the majesty of God, the beauty of Christ, and the unsearchable riches which are ours in him. Let me give you a few examples to help understand. First, let’s look at the case of the Philippian jailer (cf. Acts 16:34). Having received the gospel, he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God. He now had a relationship that allowed for joy. Whatever else is implied in the jailer’s coming to faith, it certainly meant that God had suddenly become utterly real to him, and there is no greater joy than the assurance that God is and is for you. Secondly, there is the point which Peter makes in his first letter (cf. 1 Peter 1:8). He had had the privilege of seeing Christ; his readers, however, had not, yet they believed in him and they loved him, and the result was that they rejoiced with an inexpressible and glorious joy. The same is still true, surely, of believers today. The sheer beauty of his immaculate humanity and majestic deity captivates our hearts, and we draw our very identity from the fact that we are loved by God’s own Son. Thirdly, we rejoice when we think of the future. Christ will return, and when he returns we will receive in full the inheritance already prepared for us in heaven. This is not something to be pushed to the “hope-so’s” or “maybe so’s” of our lives. It has to be absolutely central, as it was in the life of Christ, who in his closing hours focused his mind on the glory which would follow the completion of his work (cf. John 17:1-5). So, today make it your priority to see this great relationship that is yours in...

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