JOY Comes By Putting Jesus First, Others Second, And Yourself Last
- By Ranee Quirey
- Published 12/22/2008
Ranee Quirey is a daughter of faith. She is a lover of God, and like Mary, a worshipper of God. The verse from Isaiah 49:1b - "The LORD has called Me (Ranee) from the womb" is especially meaningful during this season of her life. She is an oncology/rheumatology nurse by training for nine years. In 2000, she became a missionary serving the Healthfields of Singapore and South East Asia. Her giftings are in the area of teaching,preaching, writing, prophetic praying, exhortation/ encouragement and comfort. She is married to a wonderful Kiwi gentle-man who is devoted to her. Both of them have a heart for Cambodia and the nations of South East Asia. Currently they are on Sabbatical in New Zealand and hope to return to Singapore in August 2008.
Everyone wants to enjoy life. Many people place the source of their joy in what they own, in their reputation, in their status, or in other worldly things. Yet, all of those things are unstable and can easily evaporate, taking joy with them. In the end, we will depart this world just as we entered it--with nothing (Ecclesiastes 5:15). So, although all of these sensual pleasures may provide short-term happiness, they clearly fail to provide genuine, lasting joy (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
On the other hand, true joy is offered in Christ. In John 10:10, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Living life to the full includes living it overflowing with joy.
It's no wonder that the psalmist wrote, you will fill me with joy in your presence (Psalm 16:11). And You have filled my heart with greater joy ... (Psalm 4:7).
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus quoted the first few verses of Isaiah 61 and applied it to Himself. In Isaiah 61:3, that quote continues by saying that he (in this case, Jesus) came to provide for those who grieve in Zion -- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
One of the side effects of Jesus coming to Earth was that we could have lasting joy. Indeed, the gladness and joy that so many people so desperately want can be found only in Jesus.
Life is too short to spend it hating.
In Leviticus 19:17, God warns us against hating others: "Do not hate your brother in your heart." Interestingly, that verse shows us that hate isn't just an action; it is also an attitude of the heart. Many times we hate someone in our heart, yet pretend to like them. However, hating someone in your heart is nonetheless hate -- and thus despised by God.
Although it sounds harsh, 1 John 3:15 says that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer. Indeed, as far as your heart is concerned, to hate is to murder. In other words, hating someone is no different than murdering them in your hearts.
If you hate someone, you'll be thinking negatively about them, slandering them (if not verbally, at least in your heart), and cutting them down with your thoughts and words. Thus, it is no surprise that God sternly warns us not to hate others, because life is too short to spend it hating.
Frustrated? It may be because you're trying to make something happen that only God can make happen.
Whenever you are doing what God has called you to do, it is important to rely on His strength, His grace, and His power to complete your task. You will become frustrated if you try to make things happen on your own strength instead of relying on God. God is the author and finisher of His plans (Hebrews 12:2), and you must not try to take the place of God if you expect things to work out.
In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul reveals a mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations... Christ in you, the hope of glory. In other words, there is something that people of the past didn't know—it was hidden from them, a mystery to them—but Paul is now revealing that mystery to us: Christ lives in all who believe in Him! No longer is God just with his people—God now lives in his people!
Also, note that it is Christ in you that's the hope of glory—not Christ and you.
Paul then continues by saying that he labors and works for the gospel, but all of his labor is really done by Christ's power, which so powerfully works in [him] (Colossians 1:29).
If you're trying to labor without Christ's power at work within you, then your labor will be frustrating and in vain. You need to stop trying, and start dying to self so that you may be alive to Christ's power.
Struggle and frustration occur when you try to do God's job by your own strength—rather than relying on Christ's strength, which is at work in you.
Don't doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.
No matter how hard you try, in a room that's completely dark, you'll never be able to see anything. Even if you know for sure that something is in the room, it's impossible to see it if the room is totally dark. You know it's there, but you just can't see it.
That's what faith is like. You may be absolutely confident that God loves you; however, during the difficult and dark times in life, you may not be able to see that love.
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Even when you don't see God's love for you, you can still have faith that he loves you -- that is, you can be certain that he loves you, even though you don't see it.
During those "dark times" in your spiritual life, you may not be able to see God's love, his faithfulness, his grace, or his promises to you; however, don't lose your faith. Be certain of what [you] do not see.
One day, your faith will be sight.