Joy?

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Ecclesiastes 2:24-26
“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

I want to emphasize the middle of the above reference and contrast it with a point made in Psalm 52.

“For to the one who PLEASES Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy.”

Contrasted with:

Psalms 53:2-3
“God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.”

Did you catch the contrast? Maybe this will help:

1 John 3:1-10
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Did you notice the two different groups of people? More specifically, did you notice the two different groups of children emphasized by John and David? Did you notice that one group of children pleases God and the other does not?

Look at Luke’s Gospel:

Luke 2:11-14
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

There is a people who please God, and there is a people who do not please God. Psalm 53 clearly says that of the “children of man”, “there is none who does good, not even one.” Obviously, those who do no good are not ever pleasing. However, the “children of God” please God. John says, “And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.” Did you catch John’s point? Those who hope in Christ are considered pure, BECAUSE He that they hope in is pure. Christians (children of God) are pure in God’s eyes, and what is pure is pleasing to God.

This is a very important concept for the brethren to comprehend. I see a lot of us struggling to attempt to avoid displeasing God and also struggling to attempt to please God, thus burdening ourselves and forgetting that we are pure and pleasing, BECAUSE of our hope in Christ. Basically, those in Adam (children of man, or “children of the devil” as John put it) displease God by default, and those in Christ please God by default, BECAUSE they hope in Him.

What does this imply? It implies that the Christian should be full of joy, due the relief that God is always pleased with them BECAUSE they hope in Christ. It means that the Christian is free to obey God without the worry that they are not doing enough, or that they might displease Him. It means that the Christian should always keep in view their place in Christ, and not mistake themselves as being in Adam. Such a mistake will paralyze the Christian and divert the Christian to focusing on oneself, attempting to fulfill the unfulfillable themselves, ignoring the One who has already fulfilled such for them and has made them His child.

I leave you with some encouraging, joyous words from David and Habakkuk:

Psalms 4
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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