In last week’s blog I asked, “How do we find the joy of the Lord?” The answer is to abide in Christ the Vine. To help you learn how to do that, here’s an excerpt from A 30 Day Walk through the Master’s Garden: A Devotional .
His Joy Will Be My Joy
“When you choose to do My will, including being thankful in the midst of hardship, I am pleased. When you line up your will with My will, My joy will be your joy. Then you will feel grateful. Remember—you and I have that special connection through My Beloved Vine.” [Chapter 9 The Master’s Garden]
“Living as the Gardener wants is difficult at times, but so rewarding. Being used by Him and knowing I’ll be in His forever Garden is reward enough in itself. However, our very generous Keeper also gives us unspeakable joy and peace right here and now when we are obedient to Him. That’s what the Gardener was trying to tell us a few minutes ago. This joy goes beyond expression. He wants us to have His joy.”
New Dawn saw the connection right away. “Wow! The Gardener was just telling me the same thing—His joy will be my joy when I obey Him.” [Chapter 10 The Master’s Garden]
Joy is supposed to replace the pain, isn’t it? Well, that’s what I used to believe.
It was July 2004 when I rushed my husband, Ed, to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. Thus, began our five-and-a-half-year journey of fighting cancer. After a long, complicated, and nerve-racking four months we found out he had a rare type of pancreatic cancer—only twelve other cases ever reported. Immediately our lives were turned upside down. Cancer happened to other people—not to us. How in the world could I ever live, let alone with joy, without my soulmate?
One of the most priceless lessons I learned during that time is that joy and pain can coexist. God led me to grasp this vital and life-changing truth through several steps.
First, He showed me that joy cannot be the goal.
Who doesn’t want to feel good all the time? Before Ed’s cancer was diagnosed, I was experiencing some wonderful, sweet times with Him, and I wanted more of those good feelings. But now, all of that was changed. One day, when I was struggling with depression, I penned these words in my journal:
“I wonder if I am addicted to feeling joyful?”
Immediately the Lord answered and revealed to me that I was seeking the joy I got when I was in His presence, but not Him. I cried.
God wants us to seek Him to know Him—His character and His ways—not what we can get from Him. That’s a self-focused approach. Our primary goal needs to be to love God with all of our being.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
When I began to love God more in this manner, His joy did become my joy—just as Jesus promised.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (Jn 15:9-11)
Feeling the joy of the Lord is a byproduct of being right with God, of being in a love relationship with the Creator of your soul and seeking to cultivate that relationship.
It’s natural to want the joy without the pain. But I have found that we can have joy despite the presence of pain if we have the presence of the Lord.
“There can be joy despite the pain. I used to think joy was supposed to replace the heartache, but I was wrong. Since I am attached to the Gardener’s life-giving Vine, His joy overshadows my agony. It’s hard to describe because it is a different kind of joy. [Chapter 15 The Master’s Garden]
This is a different kind of joy indeed, and it’s far more than a feeling! Christ’s joy is not the same as feeling happy. His joy is different from the world’s type of happiness. It is rooted in eternity—in the eternal, perfect Garden where everything will be true bliss.
If we remain in Christ’s love through obedience, His joy will be our joy. It will be full, complete, and overflowing—enough to overshadow any pain we may have.
Tending Your Own Garden
† Think about the idea that the joy of the Lord is a byproduct of being right with Him. During the times you aren’t experiencing His joy, what might be the reason?
† In what ways have you equated the world’s happiness with the joy of the Lord? In what areas have you embraced His joy and let go of the world’s ideas?
† Meditate on the verses above.
His joy had indeed become New Dawn’s joy and was a baffling demonstration of the love and greatness of the Master Gardener. [Chapter 15 The Master’s Garden]
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Taken from A 30 Day Walk through the Master’s Garden: A Devotional by Rose Noland Day 9.
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