Daily Devotional 11-12-19

Intrigued by Joy 
By Phil Ladwig

“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11

I’m getting intrigued by the word “joy.” In my Christian discipleship, I’ve been exposed often to teachings about the love of God, and I could use a lot more because I think I’m only just beginning to grasp the depth and richness of God’s love for me and for each of us. That’s exciting.

But, in my Christian walk, there’s been some hard teaching and hard experiences. In addition to times of growth and satisfaction, there have been periods of doubt about whether I’m really doing well or not in my efforts to follow Christ. I frankly don’t think I’m alone in these struggles.

And, when I pursue scripture and Christian teaching, there is much about the need to endure pain, make sacrifices, and work hard to grow and mature in my walk.

And I think sometimes, unconsciously, my primary motivation has been this: “If I just work harder, or if I’m just more loving and giving, God will have to favor me with a good life, and help me through my current challenges.” If this sounds immature, I agree, but there it is. But, with help, I’m trying to grow out of this way of thinking.

One thing that is helping me is to better understand the motivations that led Jesus in his walk. I came across this scripture… “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2.

And. these words jump out at me, “for the joy that was set before him…” Yes, he endured unbelievable pain and suffering for our sakes, but his relationship with his Father helped him see the goodness and grace that were being created by his life, and that was his motivation. There is something electrically good about that, and thrilling.  I want joy, as part of God’s love, to motivate me rather than fear.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I ask for the grace to have the right motivation for the things I do and my beliefs.