“These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:11-12)

If we were asked to identify the things that have slowly robbed us of our joy, what would they be? Would it be a single moment of crisis, or a steady accumulation of life’s daily mishaps? You know, the in-law who never has a kind word. Or the child spoiled by indulgence, who is rarely satisfied? Perhaps it’s a chronically sick parent for whom you are the primary caregiver? Maybe it’s the weight of legalism that so dictates your every step that your joy is stifled? You’ve held back for so long, there’s no memory of what joy looks, feels, smells or tastes like. Have you ever bitten into a perfect apple? As soon as you bit it you knew, “this is good”! Remember how it felt to enjoy that apple?! Yummy! At the mere memory I can taste and feel the joy.

Bottom line, our lack of joy could simply be that we have forgotten the most important commandments, “to love God with all your passion prayer, muscle and intelligence and to love your neighbor as well as you do yourself” (Luke 10:27 The Message).

Think back to the day of your salvation. Remember when you first realized that the Creator of everything that is, saw you from eternity past, sent Himself in the form of His Son and died a violent death to secure your very soul for His good pleasure? Do you recall the tangible awareness of unspeakable love?

Oh that we would pause and ponder that Love. We are so loved by God! His love is so deep, wide and broad it flows out of us, into the lives of others. When is the last time you looked in the mirror and knew the person looking back had more right to joy than a body can stand?

Lord You called, equipped and entrusted us with so marvelous a gift. May we, on purpose, choose to unwrap it and allow it to express itself as a light in our eyes, pep to our step, and warmth in our embraces, so that Jesus, the Light of the world may be seen in us.

Stephanie Paul

Stephanie serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women’s Addiction Ministry. She has been married for almost 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. Stephanie serves alongside him as Care Group leaders in their church. They have two grown children. Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.

Originally published in Real Victory for Real Life Volume 1

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