The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Lent Devotional: 1 Peter 3:8-18

1 Peter 3:8-18 (click here)
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God… (1 Peter 3:14-18a)

Reflection
All of us suffer… but have we suffered for righteousness sake?

When God’s people live as God’s people, we are promised that suffering will naturally come. I’m not saying that we seek out suffering, but that it is the inevitable result of following Jesus… there is a massive difference.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3:12)

Yet, we have the confidence that Peter speaks of when he says that EVEN IF we suffer for righteousness sake, we will be blessed… for no matter what suffering comes our way, even if it is death itself, we have God as our inheritance. Christ died to bring us to God! Even if we suffer and die, death is only a vehicle to transport us into the very presence of God! We will still be blessed! We cannot lose!

Therefore, Peter tells us as a people to have no fear or be troubled! Since suffering cannot win in our lives, we can live to honor the Lord as holy… and when the world is confused by our deep abiding joy in the face of suffering, we are ready to make a defense for the hope we have in Christ! We are ready to proclaim that though we lose everything, even our lives, we do not lose our joy because our joy is Jesus!

This is not a superficial, frivolous joy… no… this is a rock-solid joy that stands even in the midst of suffering and sorrow! We are a people who are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10). We are a people who mourn, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). And when we suffer and sorrow, yet stand joyously on the hope of Christ… we mirror the cross of Christ!

Jesus suffered and sorrowed, yet for the joy set before him he endured the cross! He cried out as one forsaken, yet committed his Spirit into the hands of his Father!

He suffered for righteousness sake… and so do we as his people… mirroring his sacrifice… pointing the world to his sacrifice by being a cruciform community.

All of us suffer… but do we suffer for righteousness sake?

 
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: 1 Peter 2:9-10

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Reflection
Why has God saved us?

Does that question every cross your mind? Does it ever keep you awake at night? I know that I haven’t lost much sleep over that thought, but I should have tossed and turned many times because of it.

I think that we don’t wrestle with such a question because our assumption is, “Why would God not save me?” I mean I am totally worth it right?

Wrong.

There is every reason in the world for God to have not saved any of us. I mean it was us who rejected him. He owes us nothing. And it is that very fact that makes salvation so amazing.

He didn’t save us because we were deserving, but because he is so graciously loving. He has lavished his love upon us out of sheer grace!

He chose us as his people, made us his priests, empowered us to be holy… we are his for he called us out of darkness to enjoy his marvelous light forever and ever… just because he loves!

This changes everything about how I react to salvation!

If salvation is something I believe I deserve… then I treat it as such. I don’t really show thanks for it. I’m not amazed by it. I don’t celebrate it or proclaim it. It’s just something I’m entitled to.

But… if salvation is by the grace of God alone… then we become a people in awe of a God so gracious! We can’t help but celebrate… we can’t help but proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light! That becomes our joy!

We become a people willing to sacrifice everything to make known to the world, the gracious love that has been made known to us! We become a cruciform community!

What about you? Is salvation something you feel entitled to? …or… does your salvation amaze you and feel you with joy that cannot be contained? May we be a people, a cruciform community, that sacrifices all to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light!

 
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: James 1

James 1 (click here)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Reflection
My children can be so short-sighted. They are only able to see the immediate, not the end.

Levi still can’t ride a bike because all he can focus on is the potential pain in the present… not the joy and freedom that awaits him on the other side of a few scrapes and bruises.

All too often, I find that I am same.

Much like the incoming tide, life seems to bring in wave after wave of trials. There may be short pauses of peace in between, but you know the next wave is coming… and I find that all I am able to focus on this the potential pain in the present. I do not lift my eyes to see the joy waiting on the other side.

What joy?

James declares to Christians, who were suffering more than I ever have, that all their trials produce steadfastness… a strengthening of faith… and enduring faith that will carry them all the way home to perfection in glory where their joy will be complete!

We don’t deny the pain in the present, but we are able to see more! We see not only pain, but the coming promise… the promise that our trials won’t win… the promise that Christ is with us and will sustain us… the promise that we will know perfect joy in him forever. This promise strengthens our faith in the present! We get a foretaste of joy in the present!

So we can count it all joy! All of it! Because we know that it is all bringing us home to Jesus! There is a joy set before us… just like there was for Christ himself…

We look “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who FOR THE JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

When we face trials with joy… not a fake joy that pretends like trials aren’t trials… Jesus did not pretend that the cross would be painless, no, he despised its shame! So… when we face trials with true joy, we display the very cross of Christ to the world! We mirror our savior who endured the cross for the joy of sitting at the right hand of his Father! We endure for the joy of sitting at the feet of Jesus!

Such joy in the face of trials is unlike anything the world has seen. Such joy comes from a cruciform community, willing to sacrifice themselves for the joy set before them… the joy of Jesus.

 
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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