Spread the Joy Around
Verse: Malachi 4:2
Have you ever actually watched a cavorting calf? You’d probably think you were witnessing the worst possible case of bovine ADD. Human children act similarly. Position yourself outside an elementary school just before the day’s final bell. Whether a child has to traverse ten feet to queue up for a bus or ten blocks to burst into her door, you can’t fail to miss a common behavior: They run.
When was the last time you leaped? Don’t count the day you were in range of an automatic sprinkler system just chugging into action. When did you dance like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof or like King David upon the return of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem (see 2Sa 6:14–15)?
In Psalm 28:7 David asserts: “My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise [God].” That inner jubilation works well for some of us, but we can’t all see ourselves physically leaping. Our hearts, though, alive in Christ and inspired by joy, can bound and jump.
Preacher and writer Oswald Chambers (1874–1917) knew the joy of being right with God:
No language can express the ineffable blessedness of the supreme reward that awaits the soul that has taken its supreme climb, proved its supreme love, and entered on its supreme reward. What an imperturbable certainty there is about the man who is in contact with the real God! Thank God, the life of the Father of the Faithful is but a specimen of the life of every humble believer who obediently follows the discipline of the life of faith. What a depth of transparent rightness there must be about the man who walks before God, and the meaning of the Atonement is to place us there in perfect adjustment to God. “[Walk before me and be blameless (see Ge 17:1)],” not faultless, but blameless, undeserving of censure in the eyes of God.
Chambers concedes that no language can adequately describe such euphoria, but he doesn’t suggest that we hold back in expressing ourselves in whatever way is appropriate. Are you the “let it all hang out” type, immune to easy embarrassment? Do you gravitate like a moth toward the limelight, or are you continuously aware in a public setting of the impression you’re making—or not making, if your goal is anonymity?
The fact is that it doesn’t matter. As Christians, we revere God’s name. And we’ve been healed and forgiven. When God looks at each of us, washed in the cleansing blood of Christ, he sees something incredible—absolute perfection! We’ve been “released.” How can any of us consider keeping such news to ourselves?
Think About It
•When you think about what God has done for you, what is the first emotion you feel?
•How does your rightness before God allow you to experience joy?
•Who needs to hear about this joy of yours?
Act on It
Someone out there needs the kind of joy that you as a Christian experience. Share that joy with someone.
This devotion is from the NIV Stewardship Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.