Posted by Craig Borlase on 12 December 2017

Joy Song Devotional

It might not make for comfortable reading, but the path to true and lasting joy in God often leads us away from the temporary things we put our hope in. Just ask Mary.

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'Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." The child's father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

[Luke 2:21-35]

Thought:

It must have been wonderful to hear God’s words confirmed again by Simeon. But surely all that stuff about the sword that would pierce her heart was painful to hear. In the time that followed, did she remember his warning? Did she lie awake and wonder how bad things were going to get? Did fear every threaten to rob her of joy?

Later on, the family were forced to live as a refugees (Matthew 2 v13-23). This would have been a frightening time for the new parents, living far away from the familiar and the secure.

It must have been hard when they returned too – realising how many friends and relatives had lost their baby boys during Herod’s slaughter. All because of their son.

Being ‘used’ by God can be difficult and painful, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll fully understand everything that happens while we’re here on earth. But deep down, do you really want a softly slippered life with God? Do you really only want to sign up for a risk-free option?

Invitation:

What version of God’s promises are you saying Yes to? It’s easy to sign up for the blessing and the bounty, to get all excited about just how much joy there is lying ahead of us. But the true joy that’s on offer is eternal. We need only remember Jesus life and death to remind ourselves that here on earth, there’s a cost to following God.

But in the beautiful, upside down world of God, there’s a paradox in it all. When we are willing to lose all the treasures of life for the sake of following Christ, that’s when we find the greatest joy on earth.

Prayer:

Father God, thank you for your mercy that overcomes my failings. Thank you for your love that calms my fears. And thank you for your grace that invites me to get up again and again and join you, even though I fail. Teach me what it means to find true joy in you. Amen.

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