Yes, You Can Give Joy to God. No Joke!Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Today is April Fool's Day, a day when, in many parts of the world, people play practical jokes on each other. The standard April Fool's strategy is to try to get someone else to believe something ridiculous, like "You just won the lottery" or "You're fired." Then, when the victim is stunned, you quickly add, "April Fool's!" So, when I entitled this reflection "Yes, You Can Give Joy to God," it dawned on me that somebody might read this as an April Fool's joke. Thus the addition of "No Joke!"
In yesterday's reflection, we considered the question: Can we give joy to God? I acknowledged that many Christians would answer this question negatively, in their hearts if not in their minds. I shared how my experience of my own father makes it hard for me to believe, really believe, that God delights in me. Thus, I need an answer to my question—Can I give joy to God?—that is based solidly on God's revelation in Scripture. Perhaps you do too. So, the rest of this reflection will be a short collection of biblical texts that help us answer the question of whether or not we can give joy to God. Tomorrow, I'll wrap up this conversation with some concluding thoughts. Now, on to Scripture. I encourage you to take time to reflect on these amazing passages.
I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox. (Psalm 69:30-31)
For the LORD takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory. (Psalm 149:4)
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:4-5)
The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:4-7)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: As you read these passages, how did you respond? What did you think? What did you feel? Did anything stand out to you as unexpected? How might God be speaking to you through these passages today?
PRAYER: Gracious God, it does astound me that I can please you. I sometimes have a hard time believing that I can make a difference to you. Yet your Word is clear . . . and amazing.
Perhaps even more amazing to me is the fact that you delight in your people. Indeed, you rejoice in us, even with singing. How I long to hear that song, Lord!
O God, I thank you that your delight in me is not based on my own righteousness, but rather on that righteousness you give me by grace through Christ. Still, I am encouraged by the fact that I can please you by offering my whole self to you as a living sacrifice. May my life give you joy! Amen.
P.S. – Other biblical passages that speak of God's pleasure or joy include: Leviticus 1:9; Psalm 104:31-24, 147:11; Proverbs 15:8; Luke 10:21; Ephesians 5:10; Colossians 1:10.
Moving Beyond Mediocrity
This article is part of our series, Moving Beyond Mediocrity. How often in your daily life do you think, “I wish I could do better”? It’s the feeling you get when you realize you aren’t really trying. Your job, your family, even your hobbies: they are worth working harder. But what does it take to move beyond mediocrity? How do you quit using your education, your upbringing, your circumstances, even your faith, as an excuse to keep you from doing your best? Join us as we discuss giving it our all in our workplaces and our homes, in our communities and our churches, for the common good and for the glory of God. Also, consider inviting others to join you by sharing these stories via email, Facebook, Twitter, or networks you are part of.
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