…The joy of the Lord is your strength…
by Matt Hunt
1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up.”
So we read in Romans 15:1-3, be a servant and put the interests of others ahead of yourself!! Just like your Lord Jesus Christ!! Its great!
Until you get to Monday and the same old self defensive habits come out!! But our experiences, good one or bad ones, never cancel out God’s truth. I read a little tract by Ajith Fernando from Sri Lanka years ago called An authentic Servant and found these words …
“My basic premise is that when we are committed to the people we are called to serve (eg family, church, home group, workmates), we will inevitably suffer pain by sticking to that commitment. Let’s see how Paul illustrated this principle. The first thing we must note is that Paul regarded groaning as an essential feature of life in a fallen world. This is a world subjected to frustration because of the fall (Rom 8:20). Because of this, even those who belong to God join in the rest of creation in groaning. Of course for us this groaning is ‘as in the pains of childbirth’ – the anticipatory groaning of those who look forward to a coming glory (Rom 8:22-23). He says, ‘Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ (Rom 8:18). … So we have a theology of groaning.”
A theology of groaning!! What else would I expect from a tract called “An authentic servant”!! He goes on to describe it as “biblical stress” But, how do you keep going? I was encouraged that Fernando also spoke to this issue …
“If we are to take on biblical stress, we must first be strong enough to endure it. The strength for this comes from the joy of the Lord … What we have said so far makes it clear that we will lose a lot of joy over things on earth because of the love we have for others. But there is one type of joy – the joy of the Lord – that we must ensure we always have.”
The joy of the Lord is the heart of a peaceful stressful life – a way we can “struggle well with life” as we say here at CrossLife. You cannot do life well without it. Seek His joy in your life.
How? Here’s two things to do this week …
… thank Him for everything. A grateful life is a life of joy (1 Thess 5:18)
… ask His joy to be complete in you –don’t ask, you don’t get! (John 15:11)
I’ve learnt the importance of that this week. I hope it encourages you to seek your strength in the wonder, greatness and joy of knowing the Lord Jesus too.
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