The joy of salvation

I had an epiphany this morning.  I love the word epiphany and I do not get to use it often enough.  I explain the meaning of the word as having a “light bulb moment” when you suddenly understand or gain fresh insight to something.  I would love it if you could read today’s blog and have this fresh understanding yourself, but I do not know if that is how it works.

The immature Christian life often goes like this… on the one hand there’s a list of things you must do and on the other a list of things you must avoid, or not do.  And however you feel about either list is irrelevant.  Do this and don’t do that and you are able to check the box that says, “being obedient and following Jesus”.   And this same immature thought process leads you to believe that Jesus is pleased with you, even if part or most of your obedience is done begrudgingly.  I still have moments of this immature Christian life, doing things I would rather not do, but doing it/them because Jesus requires it, or more honestly, because my job as a pastor requires it.

In Psalm 51, King David writes to God, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation”.  I heard Pastor David Jeremiah explain this verse by saying King David had not spoken to God for a year (because of the king’s sin against Bathsheba) and wants that relationship restored.  Pastor Jeremiah may be right.  But this morning, I think King David was saying, “help me love following You and Your commands again.”  I am quite literally ready to cry right now, with tears welling up in my eyes.  Do you get what I got?  The joy of salvation is being able to call God’s requirements, expectations, or commands a joy.  It is not having God say, “you must give 10% of your income to me through the church”, it is wanting to.  It is not having God say, “you must love me with all your heart”, and then loving Him.  It is loving the fact that you love God with all your heart!!!  (As my brother in Christ, Don with Samaritan’s Purse says, “I’m gonna love you whether you like it or not”.)

The joy of salvation, and the goal of walking with Jesus is following God’s commands until His commands are no longer necessary.  It is akin to a child cleaning their room without being told or because there is a reward.  It is being kind to difficult neighbor (or family member or someone you go to church with), not because the Lord requires it and it pleases Him, but because it brings you joy to know that it pleases God and pleasing God pleases you – brings you joy.  The joy itself is the reward.

The best example of this I can think of is mission trips.  In the beginning, most people go on mission trips because they want to help someone.  But once they go on one, they want to go back.  And they do not want to go back because they think the Lord requires it.  They want to go back because of the joy it brings them.  So much so that I occasionally have people say on their second, third, or fourth mission trip, “I no longer know if I am going for me or for the Lord”.  That is talk of someone who knows “the joy of God’s salvation”.  And that is where I want to get to with everything in my walk with Jesus.  And I have a feeling it will take my whole life to get there.  But at least now I know what my goal is.






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