Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Give in to the Joy, from Peace Within Your Borders

The following devotional is from my newly revised Peace Within Your Borders - a devotional for homeschooling moms. The theme for July is Living in Joy.

Give In to the Joy
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.
Psalm 42:5

My mom is one of two girls. I am one of three girls, and I had two girls of my own. So horseplay has never been a big part of my life. We wrestled and teased more with puns than with a headlock when I was growing up. My daughters parry more often with tickling and practical jokes. However, I do know what it means when someone says, “Do you give? Say uncle!”

In a recent message from Pastor Rob Baker and he challenged us to, “Give in to the Joy.” It was exactly what I needed to hear and has become my new theme. You see, I’ve been a Christian for a long time and I know I have the fruit of joy in me, but so many times I refuse to give in to it. I circle around the negatives of the situation instead of rejoicing in God.

Some other ways to express this thought might be: admit defeat, buckle under, capitulate, cave in, comply, concede, relinquish, resign, submit, surrender, throw in the towel, or yield. Need I say more? Do you give?

The author of Psalm forty-two was depressed. He poured out his pain (which is the first step of healing). God felt far away, others had mocked his faith, he was out of fellowship, and he was suffering physically. In psalm forty-three he continues his tale of woe. Three times in these chapters he repeats the lines of Psalm 42:5, encouraging himself with memories of what God has done for him.

Instead of sitting down for a pity party and inviting us to join him, he said, “Self, don’t be so upset. There’s hope for you yet. You’re going to praise God in the end. Just wait and see. I’m going to remember God’s character and all the good stuff He has done. I will praise Him again. I choose to give in to the joy!”

He lay his case before the Lord. Instead of making heartache his focus, this psalmist cast all his cares on the Lord then chose to praise and wait in hope. God had been faithful before and He would be again. The psalmist’s love for God, his trust and joy in Him were stronger than his misery. He gave in to the joy.

I challenge you as Pastor Rob challenged us. Give in to the joy God has for you. Pour out your heart to Him and leave the pain at His throne. Be honest in His presence; remember what He has done for you in the past. And say ‘Uncle.’ We are happy losers when we surrender to Joy.

Dear Lord, I submit to you. I want to be a person of joy – to let you reign in my heart. Put Joy in the ring to take me down until I give in to its power. This is one fight that I want to lose every time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~ Beth Vice, 2010

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