I am a recipe baker. I need the exact measurements and directions. I am not a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” baker. This morning I was up at 5 a.m. (because I couldn’t sleep) to bake some rolls. Adding each single ingredient one at a time, measuring, mixing, rising, waiting, hoping, dreaming, coffee (the most essential ingredient to add to your body at 5 a.m.
If you mess up the ratios or knead too much, or salt on the yeast or wander to far from the recipe, it is a pending disaster…..or at best not a great tasting baked good.
Yesterday, I told you I had been taking some time to ponder, what steals joy and what adds to it?
It was actually in the baking of the pumpkin pie yesterday that I asked myself: Why don’t I follow a Joy recipe in life? I just add a little bit of this and a little bit of that and often times it turns into a big mess that no one wants to touch.
In Bible Study, “Redeemed: Grace to Live Everyday Better Than Before” by Angela Thomas-Phar, we were taught that some of Jesus’ last words to his disciples showcased the fruit of the Spirit JOY! I had never seen this before and I bet you missed this too….
These things I have spoken to you, that my JOY may be in you, and that your JOY may be full. John 5:11
This comes after the whole “I am the Vine you are the branches”….abide in me…yada yada yada…..THAT MY JOY MAY BE IN YOU AND THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL.
Jesus could have capitalized on any of the fruits: Love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…..why did he pick Joy?
I know you want the answer to be…because he loves us and wants us to be happy.
Um, no….get this….
Remember in Hebrews it is written: “Who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” ( Hebrews 12:2 ). and then there’s this “Count it all JOY, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.(James 1:2-4)
Oh my, Joy is not happiness. Joy is the fruit of obedience. Joy is a constant. It does not vary with outward circumstances, Joy is the result of a choice. Joy is the product of a deep abiding relationship with God the Father.
There is a recipe for Joy!
A little-bit (read COMPLETE) obedience to God’s word
and a little-bit (read CONSTANT) abiding in the vine,
mixed together with rejoicing in all circumstances.
(John 15:9, 10, 14; 1 Thes 5:16-18)
Hold the comparison and self-pity.
John MacArthur said “Jesus is the example of the perfect abiding life resulting in full joy. In the midst of all that Jesus suffered, He still had full joy because of His abiding relationship with the Father. When you abide in Him, you’ll have the same joy. A Christian’s joy should be so full that it has a controlling influence on the rest of his life. Unfortunately, I don’t know too many Christians who are. I meet many grouchy Christians that don’t experience joy because they aren’t fully abiding in Christ. A Christian who is temporarily not abiding is usually easy to identify by his negative, defeated attitude.”
Ugg! Anyone have a defeated attitude? Yep, me too…It leads me to a defeated countenance and then everyone (read My Husband♥) wonders what is wrong with Tracy. I do a pretty good job of keeping my defeated attitude to myself but dear Brek Daniel is the one to call it out in me, he is faithful.
So, we fight for Joy. We obey and we abide.
John Piper has a LIST or a recipe for JOY:
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, exercise, and 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.
I leave you this Thanksgiving day with the words of Jeremiah. May you EAT well today!