Discovering True Joy

Bearing each others' burdens fulfills the law of Christ. True JOY comes from loving Jesus first, others second and ourselves last.

Discovering True Joy

July 30, 2020

Earlier this week, opportunity came knocking. My husband and I saw a way to lighten the burdens of some people we love. Although helping these people required sacrifice, the process lifted our spirits.

Can I confess? I had forgotten how great it feels to sacrifice and serve others. It reminds me of one of my favorite Scriptures:

A generous person will prosper;
     whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

The word translated as generous comes from the Hebrew word, berakah, and means blessing, or gift. True generosity does not expect repayment. Yet, when we practice it, God promises to bless us. 

These blessings come in different forms and measures, but for me they always include an infusion of joy. Sometimes I think of the promise noted in this Proverb as, “You can never outgive God.” 

The New Testament also encourages us to be generous:

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16 NIV)

In the business of life and daily trials, it can become easy for me to forget to do good and to share with others. Especially when we live with a pandemic and social distancing becomes a new normal. 

Spending more time at home means I don’t see people and opportunities to serve as easily as I did before. It can be easy for me to disconnect with others. So, I need to become more creative in order to practice generosity. 

I am learning to take the initiative to reach out, listen, and offer encouragement to those around me. Fortunately, we live in a technology-rich world which makes it easy to stay in touch with others. Whether I send a snail-mail note, text, FB message, email or make a phone call, the Bible promises I will find joy in encouraging others:

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
     and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23 NIV)

In addition to offering encouragement, I can always pray for the people around me. As I learn to listen more attentively, I can pray specifically for their needs. Praying for others helps me feel closer to them. When the situation allows, I can also offer my time, energy, and even financial resources to lift their burdens.

The Apostle Paul encourages us with these words:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NIV)

We live in a uniquely challenging time. People feel burdens they never experienced before. When we find ways to encourage each other and offer support, we fulfill the law of Christ. 

The phrase, the law of Christ, immediately reminds me of a time when a teacher of the law asked Jesus which commandment is the most important. His answer offers us a key to what is meant by the law of Christ.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NIV)

In His reply, Jesus summed up His law as loving God first, others second and ourselves last. 

Years ago, a mentor taught me true JOY is an acronym meaning Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last.

In last week’s blog post, I pointed out happiness comes from drinking deeply and often from God’s word. Along the same theme, we discover true joy when we learn to love Jesus first, others second and ourselves last. 

We discover true JOY by fulfilling the law of Christ.

The road ahead for all of us looks new and uncertain. Wherever it leads us, I pray we discover true JOY as we fulfill the law of Christ.

Discovering True Joy

July 30, 2020

Bearing each others' burdens fulfills the law of Christ. True JOY comes from loving Jesus first, others second and ourselves last.

Earlier this week, opportunity came knocking. My husband and I saw a way to lighten the burdens of some people we love. Although helping these people required sacrifice, the process lifted our spirits.

Can I confess? I had forgotten how great it feels to sacrifice and serve others. It reminds me of one of my favorite Scriptures:

A generous person will prosper;
     whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

The word translated as generous comes from the Hebrew word, berakah, and means blessing, or gift. True generosity does not expect repayment. Yet, when we practice it, God promises to bless us. 

These blessings come in different forms and measures, but for me they always include an infusion of joy. Sometimes I think of the promise noted in this Proverb as, “You can never outgive God.” 

The New Testament also encourages us to be generous:

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16 NIV)

In the business of life and daily trials, it can become easy for me to forget to do good and to share with others. Especially when we live with a pandemic and social distancing becomes a new normal. 

Spending more time at home means I don’t see people and opportunities to serve as easily as I did before. It can be easy for me to disconnect with others. So, I need to become more creative in order to practice generosity. 

I am learning to take the initiative to reach out, listen, and offer encouragement to those around me. Fortunately, we live in a technology-rich world which makes it easy to stay in touch with others. Whether I send a snail-mail note, text, FB message, email or make a phone call, the Bible promises I will find joy in encouraging others:

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
     and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23 NIV)

In addition to offering encouragement, I can always pray for the people around me. As I learn to listen more attentively, I can pray specifically for their needs. Praying for others helps me feel closer to them. When the situation allows, I can also offer my time, energy, and even financial resources to lift their burdens.

The Apostle Paul encourages us with these words:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NIV)

We live in a uniquely challenging time. People feel burdens they never experienced before. When we find ways to encourage each other and offer support, we fulfill the law of Christ. 

The phrase, the law of Christ, immediately reminds me of a time when a teacher of the law asked Jesus which commandment is the most important. His answer offers us a key to what is meant by the law of Christ.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NIV)

In His reply, Jesus summed up His law as loving God first, others second and ourselves last. 

Years ago, a mentor taught me true JOY is an acronym meaning Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last.

In last week’s blog post, I pointed out happiness comes from drinking deeply and often from God’s word. Along the same theme, we discover true joy when we learn to love Jesus first, others second and ourselves last. 

We discover true JOY by fulfilling the law of Christ.

The road ahead for all of us looks new and uncertain. Wherever it leads us, I pray we discover true JOY as we fulfill the law of Christ.

2 Comments

  1. Charla on August 24, 2020 at 1:55 PM

    JOY. What a great way to remember how we serve as followers of Christ. It is amazing how God blesses us when we set aside personal agendas to serve others.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on August 27, 2020 at 7:10 PM

      Thank you Charla. I always appreciate your wise and encouraging feedback. 💕

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