Thoughts on Joy
What causes you joy? What is it that amazes you? What was your most thrilling experience? As a motorcycle rider each one of these questions are answered almost every time I ride. But most rides are not things of lasting memory. Once, while scuba diving in Apra Harbor on the island of Guam, I stepped off the bow of a sunken ship that sat in about 90 feet of water. Being at neutral buoyancy, I neither sank nor floated upward. I remember yelling out a “Hallelujah” and feeling a thrill flow through me. But that is still not the greatest joy, amazement and thrill I’ve experienced.
Could it be the birth of our three sons? Or the joy of adopting our daughter? Or just our wedding day that started our whole family adventure? Each one its own way was a wonderful event. But still there is something greater.
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes about his experience with these concepts of joy, amazement and thrill. He starts out in chapter three verse one, with these words, “When I think of these things...”. What things? The things he was writing about in chapter two. The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Or as I like to see it, the Gospel in Six Words. Verses 1-3 “ONCE YOU…”. Verses 4-10 “BUT GOD…”. Verses 19-22 “SO NOW…”.
Once you were dead because of your sin and disobedience…But God is so rich in mercy and loved you so very much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead…So now, you are members of God’s family! When I, Paul, think of all this…and then for fourteen verses he gets a little off track and returns to this phases in verse fourteen itself, “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience that love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Than you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that come from God.”
Read that passage over a few times. Read it with the rhythm of a great poem. Let its words flow in an through your mind. Listen to what Paul is saying. When he thinks about God’s great plan of salvation, he is overwhelmed with joy, amazement and thrill. When I truly listen to this beautiful series of Spirit inspired writing, I find my own joy, amazement and thrill.
Here at Tillamook Adventist Church that is what we want to share. The wonderment of our salvation in Christ Jesus. Once we were dead, but God is so rich in mercy and loved us so much, that He gave us His Son, so now we are members of His family! That is the goal of all we celebrate here at our church.
In His Matchless love,
Tim Mayne, pastor