Rejoice in Jesus
July 16, 2021
Now that we are God's friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ's life! But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God's friends. Romans 5:10-11 GNT
I am so blessed to know some of the happiest people in the world. Two men whom I consider early mentors in my life are my dad, James Mason, and Melvin Maxwell, John Maxwell’s father. Dad and Rev. Maxwell were friends. Dad invited him to come speak at numerous camp meetings and revivals when I was in junior high and high school, and he was so much like my father that I was fascinated. I ended up choosing my college largely because he was the president there. They both were positive, happy, thoroughly delightful people. They did not absorb the atmosphere—they created it. Wherever they went, the climate was sure to improve. They both lived into their mid-90s, and joy was still their main characteristic.
Now, many years after I became enamored with them, I have traveled the world. I have learned that while Dad and Melvin Maxwell were certainly rarer than we would wish, there are people like them all over the world.
- I have met stooped-over African women, nearly crippled from carrying little children while they work in fields in melting heat all day, radiate joy that is impossible to capture in words.
- I have heard pastors in India, who face persecution, beatings, the loss of their homes and property, and threats against their children because of their faithfulness to share the gospel, echo hope and joy with their infectious laughter.
- I have walked with barefooted young people on dirt paths through their impoverished villages, and they tell me with joy what they see in their futures as they pray with hope.
- I have prayed with and commiserated with parents who have experienced deep grief over the loss of children due to diseased water. With big smiles, they recall memories of their children as they joyfully report that God is still good.
What’s the secret? What unites these very different people in vastly different situations? It is their definitive choice to rejoice in Jesus, no matter what. No matter what else is or is not happening, Jesus has made us His friends! Through what He has done for us, He has made salvation a life-long adventure with His constant presence all the way to a perfect, forever home. Now that’s joy I can get into. It leads me to greater wholeness and a full and abundant life.
- We don’t rejoice because of a circumstance. We rejoice because of a relationship. Recognizing, receiving, being rooted in, remembering, and rejoicing in Jesus gives us a relationship of joy that the world didn’t give us, and the world cannot take away.