Joy and Thanksgiving

December 19, 2012

What can make a heart wonder at the Gospel message?  What can rev up a dead heart to see and taste the Gospel and recognize truly and joyfully that it is good?  Thanksgiving is one such means that can rev up our hearts.  Joy is inherently other-centered; in wonder of God, we take joy in who he is.  Oftentimes we cannot feel this ultimate joy because we are not focusing on God.  At such points, we can remember who God is by voluntarily recounting His faithfulness and steadfast love to us.  And our voluntary remembrance of God and our voluntary wonder of God’s character will infuse our thanksgiving with joy! For the joy is a central characteristic, the unifying adverb to all activities of a Christian.  Our praises will be joyful praise; our thanksgiving will be joyful thanksgiving; even our endurance of prosecution will be a joyful endurance.  “… who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…”

But sometimes the darkness will not lift.  Sometimes the remembrance of God’s character or his works will not seem affect our spirits with joy.   Sometimes our prayers of thanks will seem begrudging acknowledgement of his sovereignty rather than heartfelt gratitude to a benevolent father.  Even in those times, press on, fight for joy; for we are commanded to do so!  And the darkness will lift, in this life or in the next!

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