1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of all aspects of the Christian life is love. Love is to be at the foundation of all we do, all we are, and all we hold on to. If we focus on love and allow the Holy Spirit to strip everything else away, what will be left is a life of blessed simplicity rooted in face-to-face relationship with our heavenly Father. As we spend time this week looking at the simplicity of love, I pray that all the weighty, frivolous things of the world that rob you of an abundant life fall away in light of the glorious goodness of God’s unconditional and wholly available love for you.
Scripture:“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
In God we have access to the fullness of joy. In Psalm 16:11 David says to God, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” God has set out for us all a path to the fullness of joy found only in his presence, and that path is marked by love. We can have joy in and out of every season because God never stops loving us.
When we base our lives on the love of God rather than the thoughts, perspectives, and pursuits of the world, we position ourselves to live filled with the joy that comes solely through relationship with the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We have been ransomed from the ways of this world and brought into the kingdom of our heavenly Father. And in this kingdom we discover a wealth of joy found in the Spirit of God dwelling with us.
The Holy Spirit longs to make us a joyful people. He longs to lead us away from that which will steal our joy and guide us to green pastures and still waters. But a choice remains constantly before us. Will we choose the stress, burdens, and insecurities of this world or will we follow God into a more abundant life of his joy-filled presence? We have a very real enemy tempting us every day to choose a world that will never fulfill us. While we may not be his any longer, he will do whatever he can to rob us of the abundant life afforded us by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus. But 1 John 4:4 tells us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
The Holy Spirit dwelling within us is perfectly capable of guiding us away from the temptations of the enemy and toward the joy that can only be found in living for God’s kingdom. If we will choose today to be loved by God and love him in return, we will undoubtedly be filled with joy. Joy is a consistent symptom of seeking first the kingdom of God because his kingdom is marked by joy.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” I pray that your life will be marked by rejoicing today. I pray that you will so encounter the love of God that you are filled with joy in all you do. Choose today to base your life on the unconditional love of your heavenly Father. Choose to love him and others in all you do in response to the wealth of affections he has for you. Experience his love today and be filled with inexpressible joy.
Take time in guided prayer to encounter God’s presence, commit your day to the wholehearted pursuit of love, and receive the joy available to you in God’s kingdom.
1. Ask God to make you aware of his nearness. Receive his presence into your heart and rest in the joy and that comes with it.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
2. Commit yourself to pursuing love today in all you do. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you love God and people with your thoughts, actions, emotions, and words.
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
3. Receive the joy of the Holy Spirit. Ask him to bear the fruit of joy in your heart, work, and relationships. Ask him to transform you into a person marked by joy.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This life is too short to live for anything but the kingdom of God. All other kingdoms fall away. Anything we build up that is of this world will return to dust just like us. Make the choice to live for a greater purpose than worldly acceptance and discover the wellspring of joy available to you in the kingdom of your loving heavenly Father.
Extended Reading: Matthew 6
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