Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
Do you ever flip through the different radio frequencies to find a song you want to hear? You hear one song and you might listen to it a little longer than others, but you are looking for a song that makes you want to listen until it is done. Especially in the summer, certain songs make me want to roll down my windows and sing at the top of my lungs?
One of those songs on Christian radio right now is Joy by Rend Collective. It is a great song about trusting God with our sorrows and refusing to let our pain define us. It is in the dark moments that God’s grace shines the brightest, in those moments when we choose to celebrate – when we choose joy.
You’re the joy joy joy lighting my soul / The joy joy joy making me whole / Though I’m broken, I am running / Into Your arms of love [Joy, Rend Collective, Thankyou Music, 2014]
This reminds me of the popular song HAPPY from the movie Despicable Me 2. It is a fun song with a great beat. The song comes on the radio and immediately the volume goes up. It is a song declaring that I am happy and there is no limit to my happiness – it’s like a room without a roof! There’s no ceiling. My level of happiness is so high, nothing can bring it down. Bring the bad news, but it is not going to change the fact that I AM HAPPY! [Happy by Pharrell Williams
This song is not a Christian song but I would challenge that the only way to have THAT kind of happiness is through Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus spoke at the beginning of his sermon on the mount of this kind of happiness, or about what it looks like to be THIS blessed. We call this portion of scripture The Beatitudes.
One day as the crowds were gathering, he went up the hillside with his disciples and sat down and taught them there.
“Humble men are very fortunate!” he told them, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them. Those who mourn are fortunate for they shall be comforted. The meek and lowly are fortunate for the whole wide world belongs to them.
“HAPPY are those who long to be just and good, for they shall be completely satisfied. HAPPY are the kind and merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. HAPPY are those whose hearts are pure, for they shall see God. HAPPY are those who strive for peace—they shall be called the sons of God. HAPPY are those who are persecuted because they are good, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“When you are reviled and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers—wonderful! Be HAPPY about it! Be very glad! For a tremendous reward awaits you up in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted too. – Matthew 5:1-12 (TLB)
Most of us know this passage from other translations that use the word “blessed”. Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers. And this is the one that catches most of us off guard – Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because GREAT is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
GREAT is your reward! SO great that there is no limit to the happiness you will experience, no ceiling to the joy! Nothing can bring you down – not insults, persecution or slander.
Now I must admit I do not experience that kind of joy 24-7. I don’t know if anyone does. There are times in our life with we grieve or experience the pain that comes with life. Sometimes we go through a time when the accusations of the enemy are drowning out the voice of God. It is during these times when we are battling against doubt and hurt when we need to declare the promises of God to replace the lies of Satan. We need to remind ourselves to rejoice and be glad, even when it does not come naturally. Great is my reward IN HEAVEN – not always so great here on earth.
But there is a joy that begins right here, right now, when we walk in relationship with Jesus – a joy that finds us in those moments when we need it most. A joy that comes from praising God and declaring His faithfulness when others fail us or the battle intensifies. I don’t have to conjure up joy. I don’t have to pretend to be happy. Just a whisper for help and the Spirit can produce in me fruit that is unexplainable, such as JOY in the middle of a difficult situation or PEACE in the midst of trials.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So BE TRULY GLAD. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:3-9
I’m happy and there is no limit to my happiness – it’s like a room without a roof! There is no ceiling. My level of happiness is so high, nothing can bring it down. Bring the bad news but it is not going to change the fact that I am happy! I am happy because I am blessed by a God who protects me by His power and tells me of a wonderful joy that is ahead for me. So I choose to embrace my God in the good and the bad. I choose to be truly glad…because I’m happy!