‘This blog series is based on one idea from the sermon each week. This week’s blog is written by Anne Rennie. It’s based on the sermon ‘Joy in Obedience’ which you can download here: https://soundcloud.com/livinghopeinverness/joy-in-obedience’
Where is the the joy?
‘People killing, people dying, children hurt, and you hear them crying.
Father, father, father help us, send some guidance from above.’
I’ve heard this song a few times in light of the recent terrorist attacks. It’s easy to feel hopeless and useless and scared. But these lyrics and our sermon from Philippians have got me thinking about how the church is supposed to respond ‘in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.’
Joy in obedience
Obedience is a word that feels restrictive and oppressive. It isn’t a word we normally associate with freedom, satisfaction or joy. Imagine telling a 3 year old that it’s bedtime-it’s hard to imagine their joy in obeying this request!
But when Paul talks about obedience in Philippians 2 he explains that obedience is only possible with the Holy Spirits help, it’s a natural overflow of the love we have for Christ and ultimately results in us becoming more like Jesus. The more we love Christ, the more we obey Him (with the help of the Holy Spirit) the more we are transformed in to His likeness.
So how does this bring us joy? Or how does it bring anyone else joy in the ‘midst of a twisted and crooked generation?’
Firstly, when we show off Christ through how we obey Him, we have joy because we’re living as God created us to live. Becoming more like Christ brings us true and lasting joy both now and in eternity. When we see Christ for who He really is, we see what joy is – not just happiness, but rather full contentment, complete comfort and lasting freedom.
Secondly, when we show off Christ through how we obey Him, others see how attractive and good He is. As we obey we ‘shine as lights in the world’ and point others towards the true joy that is found in Christ. How amazing to think that, through our obedience, we can show off Jesus to those who are scared, to those who are angry and to those who are evil.
God has given us great guidance as to how we, the church, can help those suffering around us and how we can find joy in such difficult circumstances. It’s as the Spirit helps us to to obey that we can have, and share, joy.