Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? You know the type of thing that happens out of the ordinary for no reason. Maybe someone left you flowers, a cupcake, and a devotional on your porch which you while away. What a wonderful display of tenderness and unselfish love. We might go as far as to call it “counter cultural”.
Jesus’ life is a perfect example of someone who did the unexpected. He loved the unlovable, accepted the rejects, forgave sinners, and the list continues.
Derwin Gray refers to the Messiah as “the counter-cultural king” who brought “a holy disruption.” Jesus was our perfect example to go beyond all worldly barriers and extend hope, peace, and love and in doing so we would experience pure joy of the LORD!
Paul wanted the world to fully know the Joy found in Jesus. He spoke directly to the Philippians and clearly stated ways to adjust one’s state of mind. We find this in the reading of Philippians 4:4-9:
Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Paul knew the joy that would come from living counter-culturally. He also knew the sacrifice it would take and the worldly consequences that would come. Yet, if Paul were among us today, I think he would bear witness to the extreme happiness within a believer when carrying out the father’s will.
Scripture reminds us in Romans 15:13 that we cannot produce joy that comes from God. He alone fills us with unexplainable joy-the kind of happiness that cannot be shaken by circumstances or the horrific events of this world.
In John 16:22, we read about the lasting joy given by God. Scripture promises us that no one can take away this special joy.
I have heard it said like this: “Jesus’s love brings peace even in difficult circumstances, contentment regardless of comfort, and joy in our eternal hope.” WOW! What a powerful statement very applicable to Advent.
This 3rd week of Advent, as we light the Joy candle, may we take time to reflect on the happiness from the birth of Jesus. May we remember-we don’t have to despair in our present world-WHY? – because Christ will come again. AMEN!
This third week of Advent, let our hearts be flooded with your Joy and let us be overwhelmed with rejoicing. We are so grateful for the abundant joy you offer through the gift of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
May we always remember our joy doesn’t come from this world and it is a gift from you-a present that first Christmas to the world to extend a counter culturally love beyond our imaginations. Help us extend Your joy to those around us.
In Your precious name we pray. Amen
May you be encouraged to focus on the Joy of the Lord and carry out Philippians 4:8:
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.”