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That Your Joy May Be Full

That Your Joy May Be Full

    During this, the “holiday” season, many are seeking joy.  We began this in the recent Thanksgiving holiday while many of us sought “joy” as we gathered around our respective tables with family and friends to “feast” on the traditional delicacies till we’ve had “more than enough”.  Then we move on to the “gift season” and expect to have a “joyous time” in the giving and receiving of gifts.   Still, after the “festivities” have all passed, the presents exchanged, some gifts returned, and all has been restored to “normal”, the “joy” of the holidays dissipates.

      Should we not have joy throughout the year?   What is it that might be in the way of us having true joy?    I am not speaking of the fleeting happiness that comes our way in the form of new gadgets, family events or even the “brief excitement” of holidays and such.     In 1Jno 1:3-4 the Spirit had John write about this “true joy”; the source of true joy; and the fact that our joy can be complete “in Him” who died for us.   That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

      But what of those who cannot seem to have the joy that comes from being a child of God?    What is it that prevents them from experiencing and continuing in that true happiness that ultimately leads to eternity with God?      Is there some barrier, perhaps even self-imposed, that limits their own happiness?    It cannot be God’s fault, as He has done His part.   We read in 2Peter 1:3-4 that God has indeed provided all we need for this life, including instructions how that we, if we do our part, can prepare to be with Him, and be happy in the doing of it.   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

     Therefore, the issue with some folk’s lack of “joy” lies within themselves. The Hebrews brethren were warned in Hebrews 12:1 that they needed to “lay aside” all that gets in their way so that they might be able to reach forward to that “final joy” that awaited them.  It awaits us too.    Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,   When God forgives us, we must also forgive ourselves.  Perhaps that is the “weight” that limits our joy. My Father-in-Law wrote the poem below many years ago.  I think it contains sage advice.   There is true joy in forgiveness.  

You Must Forgive Yourself, First


Has the Lord forgiven you of every sin?

Do you fell clean and new inside;

Is there now a “new life” that is growing within;

In your heart, are you satisfied?


Now, you’re not the one to say that you’re free,

God has given His plan from above.

To obey this plan, from the heart, you see,

Brings pardon through His wondrous love.


Are You blaming yourself for something you’ve done?

This may not be “classified” as a sin.

That does not concern you, and no other one. 

Is this why you’re unable to win?


If it’s not a “blame” maybe it’s a doubt,

That “poses” a question, back there.

What ever it is, you must bring it all out,

Do it now, and “clear” the air.


Forgetting the things that are now behind,

And pressing on to what is before,

At the “end of the trail” you’ll surely find,

The “prize” on that far away shore.


Forgive yourself first, brush it from your mind.

Don’t “wrestle” with a “shadow” or ghost,

Rejoice, be happy, you’ll live longer, you’ll find,

A “new creature” to the uttermost.

                                                 O. D. Wilson – deceased

     May your joy be full, not just during this holiday season, but throughout the year.   It will be if you will obey God & do His Will.  Then God will forgive you. Will you forgive yourself?   Find your joy; let your joy be full. 

                        Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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