The reason I care so deeply about your joy in God is first, as I’ve said, because God is glorified by what you enjoy. And secondly, it is that joy alone that will liberate you and free you to become a person for others — a person of love.
The fight for joy is not a fight to be comfortable or have security or be prosperous or any other of the American ideals that are advertised to us every day. It is a fight to join Jesus on the Calvary road. Some of you know the text I’m about to quote. It’s a fight to join Jesus on the Calvary road. The fight to be happy is the fight to join Jesus on the Calvary road.
“Love is the overflow of joy that meets the needs of others.”
Hebrews 12:2: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” — or, stayed on the Calvary road — “despising the shame.” That’s the road I want you on when we’re done. It’s not a chipper road. It’s not a rah-rah road. It’s not a praise-God-anyhow road. It’s a road of suffering. It’s a road of tears.
It’s a road of empathy with all the dying people you’re aware of who are suffering — the people whose marriages are in trouble, the people whose kids are on drugs. It’s the people you know who are broken in your vicinity. And your joy is going to become a high-pressure zone that begins to make wind when it bumps up against low-pressure zones of need, and that wind is called love.
Because your joy is moving out. It’s spilling over. “I have so much in Jesus. I’m brimming with what really counts in life, and I’m going to use my stuff and my time and my energy to make your day for Jesus. I want to serve you for Jesus.” That’s the goal, horizontally, and oh, how that will glorify God because Jesus says it does. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works ” (Matthew 5:16). This is the spillover of joy in God according to 2 Corinthians 8:2. They overflowed in liberality because they were full of joy in grace. So, joy produces that kind of risk-taking love, and it is worth the fight.
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