Daily Devotion, December 28, 2020 - Chosen to Remain in Love

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – December 28, 2020
Reading:
John 15:9-17
Weekly Theme: Chosen to Be God’s Children
Today: Chosen to Remain in Love

In yesterday’s worship service, the subject was enjoying the company of Jesus and then sharing that joy with others. It was difficult for me to articulate how we can experience joy even when everything around us seems to be falling apart. When COVID continues to wreak havoc on our nation and in our communities, how can we have joy? When people we love are dying, how can we have joy? Under difficult circumstances, it seems impossible to have joy, but this morning I read something in my own personal devotion time that explains it like this: “Joy is internal stability in spite of external circumstances because of the knowledge that God is in control. It is settled assurance and quiet confidence in God’s sovereignty that results in the decision to still praise God”. (from The Tony Evans Study Bible).

Although I understand this statement, I like many others struggle with being joyful amidst the adversities of life. But this much I know... Jesus loves me and desires that I remain in his love. When I am doing as Jesus commands us, to love God and love others, and remain in his love, then I find that I do experience complete joy. Today’s reading reminds us of this truth. Jesus came to show us love and to make things known to us by his words and his actions. He calls his disciples friends, rather than servants, to convey the great knowledge that he has entrusted to them. He chose disciples to go and produce fruit out of their love for him, God in the flesh. And he then commands them to love one another. God desires that we receive God's love, to love God and then to love one another. And if you have received God’s gift of grace, then you have received God’s love and have been chosen to love God and to share God’s love with others. When we experience God’s love in our hearts, the result should be unexplainable joy. So why do we fail, at times, to experience joy? Alluding to the earlier quote by Tony Evans, it is because we have not fully embraced the settled assurance and quiet confidence in God’s sovereignty. Without this assurance and confidence, we cannot experience true joy.

If you are like me, you may be saying something like, “Everybody has a bad day! We can’t be joyful ALL the time.” But the reality is that if we have assurance in God’s love for us and if we are confident is his complete control, then we can experience joy no matter what. We must remember that happiness and joy are not the same. Joy is a stable and ultimate state of contentment, that does not vary with circumstances because it is of God. And it comes when we remain in the love of Christ, when we love Christ and when we love others. The next time you are not feeling joyful, examine yourself, your love for Christ and your love for others. Let us actively engage in accepting, pursuing, and sharing God’s love. When we do this, we will experience joy!

Dear God, thank you for giving us love and showing us your love through Jesus. Help us to embrace fully the joy we can experience when we remain in Christ’s love and help us to share love and joy with others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 
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