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Monday-Searching

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

 

Philippians 4:4,5

 

Every day I read lots of stuff on my laptop while connected to the internet. The reason I do it this way is not to save the planet by reducing paper, which is a good thing by the way. I do it this way for one very important reason that may come as a bit of a shock.

 

It doesn’t matter what I’m reading, or who published it. There’s always, always, always words or abbreviations that I just don’t know. So, rather than fake that I know it, of just skip over it, I can highlight and search to get a quick definition.

 

There are many words that are thrown around inside the Christian community, and we’ve got a great example here. Rejoicing is certainly one of those words that we read and use, but don’t know what the writer is trying to tell us. Or get us to do.

 

Rejoicing and joy are tightly connected. You can’t have any rejoicing without joy. Joy’s in the middle of it. Without joy, rejoicing loses everything and all that’s left is re-ing.

 

I’m going to give you a picture of what joy is that you’ve probably never heard of before. But this is Chet, so there’s nothing new here. I’m going to pain a word picture that moves beyond your mind and deep into your soul.

 

When God says that we’re saved by grace[1], he’s saying that he looks at us with joyful, loving, approving eyes. He sees us as his children. In his mind and heart, we’re the one he wants. He gives himself to us, sharing his joy, so we can receive his joy.

 

This is why God made us. He didn’t need us to fill some missing piece of his life. From eternity past, God was and is completely complete within himself. He needs nothing. He needs no one.

 

So why did God make us? So he could share his grace and love with us. He’s been sharing his love forever within himself. God the Father’s been loving, giving, leaning into God the Son and God the Holy Spirit from before time began. And they’ve been doing the same thing to one another.

 

We instinctively want to do the same thing. What do we do when we see someone that we want to be with? We move closer to them. We get up out of our chair and go to them. We want to go where they’re going. We want to be with them more than anything else.

 

And as we start to move towards them, we reach out to them. Without thinking, our arms reach out and our hands open up. We become more and more transparent to and for them. In a real and good sense we uncover ourselves to them.

 

As we get closer, we finally lean into them. Our whole body shifts and tilts into them. We want to do so much more than just be near them. Or stand in front of them. Or even to hold their hand.

 

We lean into them. We want to feel them next to us. And as we lean into them, we want them to lean back into us. We want to pull them in and feel their arms around us. And we long for them to pull us close to them.

 

When we rejoice in the Lord, we’re constantly reaching out and leaning into God our savior. We show ourselves helpless before the all-knowing God of the universe. We freely admit our complete and total dependence on him to forgive our sins.

 

And as we rejoice more and more in and with the Lord, we keep surrendering our rights. This means that life doesn’t have to go our way all the time. We don’t have to become angry, depressed, or to even pout when stuff happens.

 

We lean on and trust God to provide for us. Protect us. Take care of us. To love us with a love where he wants nothing but the absolute best for us. He is love[2]. Nothing can separate us from God and his love[3].

 

This is what joy is. Where it comes from. And isn’t it exactly what you’re looking for? What you’ve been searching for all your life? He’s brought it right to your doorstop in Jesus Christ. Your job, my job, is to receive it.

 

Your searching is over.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • What’s something that you searched for recently? How did it end?

  • How do you react to the idea that God’s searching for us? For you?

  • What does leaning on God look like? How do you do it?


[1] Ephesians 2:8,9

[2] 1 John 4:8

[3] Romans 8:39

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