Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Reflections on “Joy in Christ” from the Third Wednesday in Advent, December 14th, 2011

We are tempted to think that if we are struggling (with anything) as Christians then we must not have the right to, or capacity for all that the Scriptures say about joy for the child of God. Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh suggest that joy is just off limits. At this point our deep dark suspicions of ourselves start to take over: “It is one thing to confess that we’re sinners, but what if I am so defective that even in my status as “forgiven,” joy is just not for me?” Rubbish! Remember that the devil is called “the father of lies.” The Scriptural presentation of joy is not the transitory response to exciting things or circumstances. Like the game show announcer who says, “You’ve won a new car!” And to such news, the happy contestant starts jumping up and down uncontrollably. And while new cars are also gifts from God that might make us quite happy, there is a deeper joy in the life of God’s children. It is the joy in the face of persecution and suffering. Christ our Lord said in Matthew 5:12: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” A Christian may be in the middle of that which appears contrary to “rejoice and be glad,” but he or she is joyful with the faith-based joy that knows that even in the midst of the storm God who sent His Son to weather the worst storm on the cross for us is with us. With this assurance, St. Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).” As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ we take our cue from Him: “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2b).” The Lord divested the cross of the power of its shame by looking what it was going to establish beyond it, namely your salvation. This Savior holds you even now no matter what you face…yes, we have more than sufficient reason to know true joy, lasting joy, that is…joy in Christ! Dr. Espinosa

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.