Posted by: Kris Lindsey | September 5, 2013

Another Joy Sighting

As I accelerated up the freeway ramp I felt my body press back into the seat. Inside, I felt an equally powerful but different force—an exhilarating force, an empowering force. I’d been putting “connecting with Jesus” as my primary goal each day. He now had my full attention. I felt in sync with God and connected to his powerful presence.

This feeling reminded me of my middle months of pregnancy when my hormones were pumping and my face was glowing. Back then I thought this is how my body was designed to function. It felt great.

Kris pregnant

Now, as I sped down the road feeling fully connected to Jesus, I thought this is the way I was meant to live. I was giddy in anticipation of hearing God’s directions for the day and for my life. I was open and ready to embark on whatever God had for me next. All the pressures I put on myself had fallen away. I felt a new elation and strength that came from being aligned with God’s purposes.

And I wondered, could this be the “Joy of the Lord” the Bible talks about?

As part of the Joy Quest I started back in January, I’ve been pondering exactly what Paul meant when he told the Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord.”

At first I thought “Rejoice in the Lord” might mean to rejoice in what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do. I learned to really appreciate what God was doing in the world around me in my Romans 8:28 “God works all things to good” blog series. Thankfulness does realign my thinking and help connect me to God.

I also thought “Rejoice in the Lord” might mean to rejoice in who God is. God is Love. He loves me, and the whole world, unconditionally. He is patient, merciful, and forgiving. Despite all the craziness today, our All-powerful, All-knowing, Ever-present God is ultimately in control. He is righteous and just, and will work things out accordingly. Thinking on these things and praising God does comfort me and also draws me close to him.

But lately as I’ve been reading Jesus’ analogy of the vine, I’m thinking “Rejoice in the Lord” also means rejoice in the Lord. As a branch abides in the vine, Jesus says, “Abide in Me.” He wants us to live in Him. Remain in Him. Get connected and stay with Him.

Vineyard

A few verses later, Jesus says to abide in His love (John 15:9). Our creator loves us and invites us to live in his arms of acceptance and care.

Then Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11). Jesus himself says connecting with him is the key to joy. If I connect and stay connected, his joy will fill me to overflowing. Jesus says I will then bear much fruit (John 15:5), and one of those fruits is joy (Galatians 5:22).grapes

Could it be I’ve found the answer to the Joy Quest I started back in January? If so, I think I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Now I’m more determined than ever to pursue a more consistent connection with Jesus. Now that I’ve tasted the joy of connecting, I want more!

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