Each year I look for a theme, a word, a verse that I can hold on to and focus on. That way I am not running around trying to embrace every last thing, but I am single focused and my roots go deep into that year’s theme. Last year it was “YES LORD” and though the year was terribly hard at points, I learned the value of surrender and continually saying YES. Obviously, I will be learning that for a life time. My “NO WAY” attitude often gets in the way of my desire to be a YES LORD WOMAN!
This year the word is JOY. Sounds simple enough. Doesn’t that mean happiness and delight? Well, I suppose it does and can, but as I begin this year the Lord has pointed out a path to JOY that is much deeper and not quite as simple as happiness, good times and warm fuzzies. I am thinking that JOY is a three a part thing:
- Part One: Jesus
- Part Two: Others
- Part Three: Yourself
And though I have no problem with typing out the first two parts, Jesus and Others, my spiritual baggage causes me to cringe at the idea of typing in YOURSELF. Yet, if I am going to live Biblically, all three really are part of the equation I am to pay attention to. Remember what Jesus said,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37
The first is Jesus, the Second is Others and the Third is Yourself.
Paying attention to all three is important.
I don’t know about you, but I am the last on my own list. Well, not when I really want something, but in the day in and day out of life, I put myself last. This is not humility, it is irresponsibility! I must love others as God has loved me, and I must embrace the love of God for me in such a way that I take care of the temple that I live in, take care of the heart that resides there, and take care of the mind that thinks, and all the components that live inside this body, this life, this temple of God.
And, I am to care deeply for others in the same way. Not because I want them to care for me, but simply because they too are God’s, and as I have embraced his love for me, I am to embrace that same love for them.
But, it all starts with Jesus. That love, that heart beating, that presence, that….
Today, I am asking the Lord to renew my love for Him. I already love him, and I am doing fine this moring. But, I don’t want fine, I want JOY. I want Jesus first, serving others next, while not forgetting to take care of me. But again, first things first….Every day, I desire to love Him more so that is my prayer.
This is nothing we are to whip ourselves into or work up…but as we come to him, desiring him, he will move in our hearts and minds and we can and will fall in love with Jesus all over again.
The first step to JOY is Jesus.
” In your presence is fullness of JOY”
“You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Psalm 16:11
Presence is from a Hebrew word that can mean “before”
When I am “before” Him, that is when and where I am in his presence. This can be anywhere/anytime. When we begin to realize this, we begin to take on an entire new adventure and living relationship with Jesus.
For today, this day, all I know is that is the theme of my year, and I am confident that God will teach me, prune me where necessary, and fill me with JOY in His presence, and then send me out to walk out that joy by loving others.
with joy in Him this morning,
Let’s get in His presence today. It is a directional choice, not just a nice thought or idea. It is a place we must put ourselves in.