May Your Joy Be Made Full…

December 31, 2009

Bible Study, Doctrines of Grace

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John Chapter 15:7-12

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.      


It’s time to take our place with Sidney, Australia, pictured left, and swing into the new year!        

Our dog, Rosie, doesn’t like fireworks very much.  Our neighbors, however, love them.  Rosie would like very much to just esteem today like any other.  She has no cause for celebration.  The continuance of her routine makes her a very happy canine.  Joy for her is a warm comfortable pillow and close proximity to her benevolent owners.  Of course a rousing walk and a sunny day are nice, too.       

Of course, it’s a rather humbling endeavor to compare our lives to that of a dog.  In truth, though, we are much closer to dogs in social standing than we are to the Holy God of all.  Be that as it may, though, we’re told in the above passage that essentially our joy comes from being in close proximity, in a manner of speaking, to our LORD.  Some very affectionate language is used to describe our relationship to the Father and to the Son.  Abide in me, continue in my love, that my joy might remain in you, ye love one another, and so on.  Even though our sin has separated us from God, we have been brought back into fellowship by the atoning work of Christ, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word of truth.      

This current week the posts for this blog have concerned themselves with bible study.  We’ve seen through the eyes of Spurgeon and Mueller how important studying God’s Word and meditating over it is for our spiritual growth, peace, and joy.  The only way possible for us to grow closer to God and experience His joy is through prayer and bible study.  It simply can’t be stated strong enough.  The best thing you can do for yourself, your family, your church family, and your country is to study your bible and pray over it.  Of course an unbeliever would scoff at the imperative I’m implying, but it’s simply the way God has set things up.       

We’ve been married to our culture and our actions in many ways betray us.  We’ve been told that if we want something we need to grab it.  We’re told that if we want joy and satisfaction we have to satisfy our own desires.  Friends, all that is patent flannel.  Rubbish.  We need to see and here this.  Remember what God says about unbelievers: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”  We, however, can see and hear.  He has called us, He has chosen us, and He has placed His Spirit upon us so that we can understand.  But we can’t grow and we can’t experience what He has for us in this life if we don’t employ the “means of grace” that He has established.        

Apart from God there are so many things we can’t do.  For one, we can’t save ourselves.  God is soveriegn over our election.  Also, once we are saved, we can’t sanctify ourselves.  That is solely a work of the Holy Spirit.  We also can’t wholely refrain from sin.  We are prone to stumble and fall.  He alone enables us to mortify the deeds of the flesh.   And, as we’ve already seen, we can’t create our own joy by living a life for our own ends apart from the ways that God has established.  It’s good to keep these things in remembrance because they speak of our need for God’s ongoing work in our lives.       

But, not to end on a litany of things we can’t do, let’s look at how we may come to experience God’s joy for us in the coming year.  Below, is a GREAT list created by John Piper entitled: How shall we fight for joy?  I enter this here without further commentary.  AS YOU begin the new year, glance over this list and reason these things out for yourself.  They all make good scriptual common sense.  And of further note, I hope you’ll join me and read through the bible in one year.  If pursued with meditation and prayer, it will be one of the most profitable things you ever do,….and will be cause for a celebration worthy of many fireworks at year’s end.       

How Shall We Fight for Joy?

By John Piper January 1, 1995

1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.  

2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.    

3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life.    

4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt – how to fight like a justified sinner.    

5. Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is.    

6. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.    

7. Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for God.    

8. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.    

9. Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the fight.    

10. Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence.    

11. Get the rest and exercise proper diet that your body was designed by God to have.    

12. Make a proper use of God’s revelation in nature.    

13. Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.    

14. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy).    

15. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for the unreached. 

  © Desiring God

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