Do you want your joy to increase in 2015?
Seeing teenagers come to trust and treasure Jesus Christ no doubt awakens joy. But, I believe there is something that stirs up even greater joy. It’s seeing those same students share the gospel – who Jesus is and what He’s done – and its implication with their peers. This is not merely a hunch about increasing our joy. It is the very thing the Scriptures tell us increased Jesus’ joy.
17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
21 At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (emphasis mine) and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.
22 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. (Luke 10:17-23)
Being a disciple, one who is increasingly worshiping Jesus, changed by Jesus and obedient to Jesus in all of life, will cause joy to bubble up in your heart. Being a disciple who makes disciples will increase that joy. But, as we see here in this passage, what causes the joy of the Holy Spirit to erupt in our hearts is making disciples who make disciples.
Yet, although this is true, somehow our desire for joy is too weak, for all too quickly we move from mission to managing, from equipping to entertaining, and from empowering to enabling. As Kendra Creasy Dean states in her book, Practicing Passion, “young people are wired for passion. They are looking for something worth dying for, knowing that there in they’ll find something worth living for – and all too often we give them pizza.”
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