Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 20, 2020
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. Psalm 119:1-3, NLT
My friend Tommy Newberry has a very helpful system, The 40 Day Joy Challenge, to daily invest the joyful attitude of Jesus into my heart and mind. Yes, in many ways joy is a mindset and a heart condition. A mindset because what I think translates into how I behave. If I focus on my faults and failures, I can become fixated on feelings of guilt and unworthiness. But, if each day I confess my sins and receive the grace of God, He forgives me and fills me with grateful joy. A conflicted heart is unable to elevate itself in glad obedience. Inertia is being sadly stuck in joylessness.
The Psalms are a reality check for the heart and mind. The vulnerable and insightful writer describes joy as an outcome of integrity and obedience to the Lord’s instructions. Integrity facilitates a freshness that is attractive and sweet to the senses, like the scent of freshly cut flowers. A clear conscience is able to smile confidently in the face of the temptation to compromise with evil, knowing the path of God is a joyful joint venture. Joy follows Jesus.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:2).
Fun is not the perquisite for joy—fulfillment is what precedes joy. When your life is fulfilling you will find joy in its meaningfulness. When your work is purposeful you will discover joy in making a difference. When your family is focused on faith you will rally around what’s right and be joyful in your love and care for one another. The integrity of following the Lord’s instructions is the joyful path of God’s will, while the myopic path of self will is a fleeting, hollow happiness.
Is your life an advertisement for joy or misery? Both enjoy company, so do not lower your expectations to a life attracted to cynical minded people. Seek out those who tap into trust in the Lord for their comfort and strength. The joy of Jesus becomes your strength when the life of Jesus becomes your life. Surrender to the love of the Lord and His loving presence will fill you with joy. Not a happy go lucky feeling, but a deep knowing you are loved and known by God. Do what’s right, even when the crowd is caught up in doing what’s wrong. Integrity brings joy!
“I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously” (1 Chronicles 29:17).
Dear Lord, I pray your joy will be my strength and comfort in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider experiencing the very worthwhile The 40 Day Joy Challenge.
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Surrender to the love of the Lord and His loving presence will fill you with joy. #WisdomHunters #joy #truth #Jesus
7 minute video – Kirk Franklin:
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