Isn’t that astounding? When I am walking in obedience, filled with the Spirit, victorious over darkness, rejoicing in His redemption, then I will know real joy. At that time my Jesus will be full of joy (dancing) through the Holy Spirit and worshiping His Father because of me.
Read that paragraph a few times and let it sink deep into your weary soul. I hope you will then cry out, “How Lord? How can I know such joy and dance with You?”
I discovered this truth reading Luke 10:1-24. But the discovery didn’t end there. Linked with Isaiah 58 we can clearly see the connection between obedience and blessing. Read through Isaiah 58 taking the time to record the commands followed by the blessings. Read and study both passages before going on. Thanks!
God gave Isaiah a warning for the people of God. These are faithful worshipers and pray-ers who are eager to know God. They even fast! How many church members today can we describe with these attributes?
Notice what they will receive when obedient. Light crashes the darkness of their days, healing is quick, righteousness guides, His Glory protects, needs are satisfied as He guides their life, and there they will find their joy!
Verses 9 and 14 are enough to make my heart sing. He promises my prayers will be heard and He will answer, “Behold Me! I’m here for you!” Yes, that would cause an inexpressible joy to explode from within and cause me to soar across the mountaintops of my life feasting on all His inheritance to me. The mouth of the LORD has spoken. Amen, so be it.
If this is so, how come I have met few joy-filled believers? Why am I not joy-filled?
In order to make this real in our daily lives, we have to be obedient. We need to get off the road that leads us to doing as we please in quarreling and strife. Through repentance, we change directions and walk the road that Jesus walked.
- Loose the chains of injustice
- Untie the cords of the yoke
- Set the oppressed free
- Break every yoke
- Share your food with the hungry
- Provide the poor wanderer with shelter
- Clothe the naked
- Take care of your family
- Keep the Sabbath day holy by delighting in the Lord
Isaiah 58 is about fasting from the things of this world so that we can feast upon the Lord and delight in His promises. In Luke 10, the disciples were sent out to do the very work of the Lord and they returned full of joy.
Both of these passages tell me if I will just take action and do it, then the joy comes. I have somehow convinced myself that I am worthless to ministry unless I have joy. Therefore I sit on my couch and cry out for something that can only come through an obedient act. My thinking is upside down.
So here are the practical steps that I intend to follow. Will you take this challenge with me?
Give up time.
Fast from everything that occupies personal time and satisfies personal desires. (TV, movies, hobbies, sports, books, naps, etc.)
Then: Pray: “Lord open my eyes to see where I can pour out your love to others.”
Go for walks, people watch at the mall, visit outreach ministries, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and ask to be sent to the ones that need Jesus the most.
Give up wealth.
When shopping, always buy equal for the needy.
For every dollar saved, match that dollar by giving to the poor.
“Why have we fasted and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed.” …the church (Isaiah 58:3)
“Because you did it all for yourself.”…God