The Joy of Christmas – Part 3 of 3
Jesus, The Joy of God’s Presence on Earth
Joy – Inner sense of contentment, well-being and satisfaction (Shalom in Hebrew).
The biggest plague right now in this world is joylessness. This joylessness is fueling the troubles of the world. When Jesus’ birth was announced, the angels, as instructed by God, told us that Jesus was bringing great joy. That the end result of baby Jesus was to save us from our sins and remedy of the biggest plague of joylessness. How many people do you know that are joyless, ornery, greedy, miserable, frustrated, and still trying any and every way possible, any solution to find their joy?
The whole issue of joylessness is the result of not really know God or having a real relationship with him. When a person does not have a relationship with God they cannot experience the eternal, all satisfying joy that God intends for us. I write this because I experience this joy (His joy) in my life. I personally experienced this shift and Oh, what a better life it is!
Let’s start with a few scriptures….as stated below in Matthew, Jesus will deliver people from their sin. Then restated in Luke, joy will replace that sinful selfishness that each of us was born with – that human, sinful nature. God provided a remedy to remove our sin so that our joy would not be hindered. With our sin removed from the picture, we are then enabled to have a relationship with him!
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10
Your Joy Will Not Be Complete Without Fellowship with God and Other Believers
Daily fellowship through prayer, praise, and worship in song, reading my bible, and talking to others about God is what keeps me close to Him each day. I continue to learn more about who God is, his will, and his purpose in my life. He intended and desires for us to experience great joy.
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete. 1 John 1:1-4
God Himself is our Joy
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— Jude 24
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
The Absence of Fellowship with God will Result in the Absence of Joy
But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:12. Those who do not know God will be separated from Him in darkness and absence of life.
7Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:7-11
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
There are no excuses to not know God – not one. This is what I learned when I participated in a bible study last year on the book of Romans. I have included some excerpts below that address just that. We can all see clearly from just nature alone the qualities and attributes of God. We have the Word of God, the Bible, which was written by man and inspired by the Holy Spirit. And God put eternity into our hearts! We have an inner sense of this, I believe, but sinfulness and selfishness prevent many from having a relationship with God. And when we continue to deny who God is and do not acknowledge, glorify, or give thanks then the bible says God will turn us over to our sin.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, and no mercy. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:20-32
Our Own Sin separates us from Fellowship with God
The great news is that when you trust God, acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior from sin, and ask him in prayer for a relationship with Him—He will hear you! Amazing Joy is what you will find.
1Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk”. Isaiah 58:8-9
Restoring the Joy of Fellowship with God is why Jesus Came – In Addition to Taking Care of our Sins by Dying on the Cross
46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. John 12:46-47
38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:38-39
Read these two passages from Galatians:
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:19-26
The Holy Spirit will give you Guidance
As you enter into this new or deeper relationship with God, you do not have to go it alone! God knew what we would need and again provisioned the Holy Spirit.
14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. John 16:14
From my previous article “The Trinity”: Here are some ways to begin to experience the benefits of being a Christian engaged with the Holy Spirit in a way that you may not yet have experienced. If this is you today, then get ready to experience God in a new and more in-depth relationship!
After acknowledging Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and asking for forgiveness of your sins, specifically ask God to receive the Holy Spirit and God will give the Holy Spirit to you as it is written. Luke 11:11-13
- Jesus is preparing to leave and ascend to heaven and promises the Holy Spirit. John 14: 16-28
- The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, WHOM my Father will send in my name. John 14:26
- Jesus opened the disciples understanding of the bible and the Holy Spirit clothed them in Power. Luke 24:45-49
- Feed the Holy Spirit by Reading the Scriptures (Isaiah 55:11 as the scriptures will never come back empty but will accomplish what God has intended)
- The Holy Spirit will do the rest! (Philippians 1:6) God will complete the good work in you that he started when you heard and believed the Gospel)!
- God can do more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20, 21)
- Eye has not seen nor ear heard…which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Additional Scriptures: (I will add in the scriptures and a few more attributes of the Holy Spirit as time allows).
- Acts 1:8 – You will receive Power from the Holy Spirit
- 1 Peter 1:5 – You will receive Protection
- 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast your anxiety and fears on him
- Romans 8: 5-15 References Life and walking in the Spirit
- Ephesians 4; What your focus should be walking with the Holy Spirit
- Acts 20: 22-23 Paul is drawn by the irresistible Holy Spirit and is in ongoing conversation
Acts 8:26-29 The Spirit TOLD Philip (the Spirit and he can speak to you)!
I trust that this series of articles will lead you closer to the Lord. To clarify and remind ourselves about the real reason for the season. We are specifically instructed not to judge one another, I do my best to follow this instruction. We need to love every one of God’s creations even if and when they are living in sin. It is the sin that is the issue between man and God. If there is anything I can do to get scripture in front of someone that has not been told about the real reason Jesus was born in a manger and why we celebrate Christmas each year, then I want to help spread the good news.
Merry Christmas and God Bless You!