Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Where Joy Is Found

Isaiah 25:8-9 – He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

THEME OF THE DAY: WHERE JOY IS FOUND. I am not sure there is a quicker way to quench joy in the Christian, forfeit the peace that passes all understanding, and make our walk with the Lord Jesus one of slavish fear and bondage than to look at our performance of being a Christian instead of our position of being a Christian. Basically, what I am saying is that if we spend more time looking at our Christian practice instead of the Lord Jesus and our union with Him, we will send promised joy into a faraway land. Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne once said, “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.”

Our joy is not found in how and what we do for Christ. Now, be cautious here. Allow sin in our lives or passivity to characterize our Christian life and we will have low levels of joy. Joy is our rightful legacy from the Lord Jesus (John 15:11; 16:24). However, we work for this joy. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith” (2 Corinthians 1:24). This work is not to earn this joy or even keep it. It is ours. Christ gave it to us. The work is that of learning to keep our eyes on Jesus who is our joy. This means three things; we constantly keep our minds and hearts on the work Jesus did for our salvation; we refuse to look at how good or bad we are living the Christian life; and we keep our lives waiting for His second coming. These truths are laid out well in today’s scripture from the prophet Isaiah.

First, he mentions where God’s people focused when it comes to their deliverance or salvation – “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us” and “This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” There is a clear proclamation of dependence by God’s people upon the Lord to do what only He can – deliver or save them. We must constantly remind ourselves, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Why? Our remaining sin will always try to convince us we must do something; be something to gain God’s favor and keep His favor. Never underestimate the power of the “little Pharisee” in each of us to try and convince us to do better in the strength of self to live the Christian life. The only “do better” in the Christian life is learning more and more how to abide in Christ who is our Christian life and to be diligent in watching for His return.

Next, Isaiah reveals one of the key attitudes to live out the abiding Christian life is to ensure our joy is full – waiting on the Lord. Twice he writes of God’s people in this spiritual posture of waiting – “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him” and “This is the Lord; we have waited for Him.” Study the concept of waiting in the New Testament as it pertains to living out the Christian life. We will find it is not passive and is tied to diligent watching for the Lord’s return. Want a life of joy? Think often of Christ’s return and our deliverance from sin’s presence. Waiting is an aggressive attitude of seeing each day as the possible day of Christ’s return. Waiting renews our minds and weans us from this world to look to the eternal world.

Yes, joy is found in the Lord, not in our performance for the Lord. And it is anchored in two things; the truth that salvation is all of Him, and we exercise patient waiting for His sure and soon return. Practice these things and our joy will be full.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You so much that my salvation rests in You alone.”

QUOTE: “Our salvation is based exclusively on the work of Christ that we contribute nothing to but our sinfulness”.