Joy and Delight

Posted on February 28, 2012 by

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I have been living in Philippians 3 of late, and have been so moved by the freshness of God’s Word in my life.  Here is verse 1 from two of my favorite translations.

“In conclusion, my brothers, delight yourselves in the Lord! It doesn’t bore me to repeat a piece of advice like this, and if you follow it you will find it a great safeguard to your souls.” J. B. Phillips

“Finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” NIV

Paul talks about safeguarding our hearts.  In these ultra troubling times we are bombarded on every side with instability, anxiety, turmoil and bold faced evil.  It never stops, comes at us like a freight train, is a click away.  Guarding our hearts from destruction is the highest of priorities.  We all know friends who lost their first love and mortally wounded their souls.  How do we protect our hearts from the onslaught of both subtle and in your face pollution?  It is a dangerous and corrupt world.  In this passage Paul doesn’t give a particular theology or five points to better behavior.  He simply says to delight in, to rejoice in the Lord.  Our focus, our joy and affection are to be in Him.  The best example of delight in my life was when my kids were babies and toddlers.  Loving them was way beyond an intellectual experience, beyond the fact that I was biologically their Dad.  I was giddy in love with these vulnerable, fun, humorous, excited, eager little people who were mine to nurture and love.  And as little children they were hard wired to adore right back.  What could be better! God had entrusted them to me and I was all too eager to say YES!  It was a magical season of life…

I believe that is what Paul describes here.  Terms like fun, humor, excitement, eagerness apply.  There are others…to adore…to be crazy about…to cherish…to prize…to revere…to treasure!!  This is the deepest of all relational bonds.

Delighting and rejoicing in the Lord safeguards our souls.  I play a lot of spiritual defense, fighting against the temptations and passions that can take me captive, annihilate  my spirit and remove my focus from Jesus.  That is exactly what Paul is counseling us Not to do here.  Rather than mounting a stout spiritual defense he simply says…love Jesus Christ…focus on Jesus Christ…rejoice in Jesus Christ…delight in Jesus Christ…know Jesus Christ.  Adore Jesus…be crazy about Jesus…cherish Jesus…revere Jesus…treasure Jesus.  Engage your mind, heart, spirit, soul, everything in your soaring emotions, all of your towering passions, all of your mental acumen, all of your physical energies in knowing and loving Him.  Be so mesmerized and fascinated and caught up in the Person of Christ that all of that other stuff fades away.

The result is a robust, mighty, unyielding and enduring fortress that protects our hearts and souls.

What fun…how delightful!

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