Monthly theme: Joy and Unity.
Reading time: two minutes.
Joy is like the steam coming out of a tea kettle.
It’s not why you boiled the water, but it’s a nice indicator that the water’s boiling!
Joy is like that. God’s purpose for you is not that you’d be filled with joy, but joy, the fruit of the Spirit, is a delightful indicator that God’s purpose, “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:10) is unfolding as he intends.
You put water in the pot, you turn up the heat, the water boils, you get steam.
God speaks salvation, God works faith, God gathers you to himself, you get joy.
That’s the way it is for each of us; and that’s the way it is for all of us. Joy in the body of Christ, (in the Church across heaven and earth, in the congregation, in your home, in your ministry team), is an indicator that God’s mission and purpose is advancing.
I think harmony is like joy and is also like steam.
“All things together under one head” is a good sign that Jesus is advancing his kingdom.
It appears to me that the New Testament, just like the Old as we kicked around last week, reports a close connection between unity and joy.
(Don’t get ahead of me. We’ll talk about the prayer of Jesus for our unity and our joy next week.)
I’m thinking about the crowds that gathered around to hear Jesus and the celebrations they had around his miracles of healing, feeding and new life.
I’m thinking about the mini-crowd of twelve that he gathered around himself from many walks of life and the joy they knew when demons submitted to the name of Jesus.
I’m thinking about Paul’s letters. When a church lived in harmony, he wrote of great joy (see Philippians), but when division reared its ugly head, he called them back to harmony to rediscover their joy (see Corinthians, Galatians…).
I’m thinking about every tribe and nation gathered together before the throne in endless joy.
I’m thinking about my own, tired, Medicare enhanced body. When one part fails to cooperate with the other parts (happens more and more these days!) my joy is diminished.
When all the parts are working together… Joy!
I’m thinking about my house. When bricks and boards and water heater and windows and floors and faucets all come together nicely, it’s a great place to live.
“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5).
All together. There’s joy in that, isn’t there?
I’d love to hear from you. How have you experienced the joy of harmony in the body of Christ? How has division diminished your joy?
I’m praying for steam. It’s a good sign that things are cooking at your place.
Thanks for reading.