Glory and Joy

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 (NKJV) 
19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 
20 For you are our glory and joy.

     What is that thing that puts a spring in the step, a smile on the face, excitement in the voice and putting aside other things in order to acquire or experience it? From childhood there has been an established motivation for living that comes from a reward of some kind. Yesterday we had a first birthday party for Liam, Haylie and Luke’s little boy. Though he’s still in the world of discovery, where he doesn’t really know what all those cute little baby toys do, it was fun to watch him open up some of his presents and be enthralled for a few moments. He will enjoy them for a while, then progressively move on to more and more advanced things - toy cars, video games, bicycles, instruments, actual cars, achievements, relationships,occupation, recognition, real estate, etc. Though today there are things just given to him to enjoy, he will develop in his own wants and desires that will determine his course in life - his hope, his joy, his crown of rejoicing. His life’s purpose, fulfillment, and glory will follow the forming of these heart rewards. There will be many factors that will influence their forming, his parents, friends and natural giftings. The most transformational, however, will be when his heart encounters new life in Christ and the love that will clarify the perception of everything about life. 
      Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so we could have overly abundant life. This would indicate that all those hopes and heart rewards would not go unfulfilled. They would surely be provided for in Him. He also said, though, in John 15:7 that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us we would ask what we will and it would be done. This new abundant life, then, isn’t just taking God into all our personally developed hopes and desires and using Him to fill them up to overflowing. It’s Him also going into each and every part of our heart and influencing its motivation, transforming it from a desire to receive to a desire to provide. Jesus didn’t just come to hand us a heaven debit card. He came to form in us a hope for much more valuable rewards than any consumable here on earth. Delighting in the Lord brings a whole different perspective to where joy comes from. (Psalm 37:4)
      In the fulfillment of every need and desire that will be a part of life, may it be that the greatest provision received is a heart not driven by the things that pass away. May it be that, like Paul, the crown of rejoicing that determines our priorities and course of life is seeing those we get to influence in the very presence of the Lord. May the eternal reward of their redeemed lives be our very own glory and joy. 

 

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Jesus didn’t just come to just hand us a heaven debit card. He came to form in us a hope for much more valuable rewards than any consumable here on earth.