Posts Tagged ‘living within’

Fountain 15 by Woonkey

Fountain by Geoffrey Platt

Joy is a big word in the enormity of its meaning. Appearing 58 times in the New Testament alone, as chara in the Greek; it is a particular kind of gladness, happiness, and delight that comes to us as a result of something or someone. It is our response, but not just a momentary moment of laughter or grins, it comes with an understanding. Joy carries knowledge with it.

But the angel said to them [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. [Luke 2:10-11, NIV]

The angel is promising the shepherds them the experience of joy because of the import of the message and the opportunity to see the promised Messiah in the flesh. Very few were given this experience. Joy came from revelation!

I remember the first time I went to a wedding (it seems to be more common now, almost as a matter of course) when the bride and groom were introduced, that everyone exploded in cheers and applause because we all knew the difficulties the two had faced to get to this day. It was pure elation shared. It came upon me in a flood and I didn’t have to search for it or do anything to achieve it, merely allow myself to feel it.

Joy cannot be chased down like a fox in a foxhunt. It cannot be bought or traded.

In essence, joy comes from within, based on the big picture, not on circumstances. True joy is not the product of some success or or the avoidance of failure in the skirmishes of our lives. Joy is part of the rock upon which our faith is built.

I wish I could say that I walk in joy. I am even more frustrated to have this head knowledge but not the full grasp of what the plumb line of the Holy Spirit could mean in my life. I am distracted. My ego continues to be unyielding. I am still sorting and labeling and controlling my day to day experiences.

If I look at my time in quiet meditation or worship or praise or contemplation, I can see the fragmentation. Is there any wonder I cannot sustain joy? But I have had those moments, perhaps, as above, in the blessed good fortune of others or while singing a particularly meaningful set of stanzas in church or the burst of love toward a friend or child or other loved one. I have experienced the joy of nature in its beauty and majesty and in the power of the sea.

But deep inside, I know that there is a well of joy from which I have barely drunk. Oh human, we, will this fountain flow free?

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sunday-school-jesusWhat does that really look like? Sometimes, my imagination carries me away and I think of my body as some kind of hollow, yet intricate cave where the Jesus of Sunday School paintings sits around and chats up all my body parts and memories. Absurd, I know. Or, how about one of those alien movies where the creature pops out of the chest or stomach? Yuk.

Now I have found the freedom to truly live for God. I have been crucified with the Anointed One—I am no longer alive—but the Anointed is living in me; and whatever life I have left in this failing body I live by the faithfulness of God’s Son, the One who loves me and gave His body on the cross for me. I can’t dismiss God’s grace, and I won’t.” [Galatians 2:19b-21a, The Voice translation]

The scriptures about Christ’s Spirit, that also being called the Holy Spirit or Spirit, is the stuff of non-traditional thinking. The Christian experience, the believer’s life, with the Presence of God within, is supernatural. It is just as “woo-woo” as any other Eastern beliefs or “new agey” talk. The walk with Christ is the stuff of transformation. Because it is full of paradox, it requires faith . . . of things not seen or even understood. Miracles are things that happen outside of the natural order. That’s the point.

Jesus withinThe difference is the affiliation. Do you engage with the other powers or do you engage with the power of the One God, manifest through the Christ and offered to the faithful . . . freely. The sacrifice is in letting go of “self.” But the “other powers” want the same thing. Who do you trust with your soul?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” [Ephesians 6:12, NIV] And when you see “heavenly realms,” think spiritual realms, the world within.

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