How to be Filled with Joy
Welcome to the Live to Love Blog for September, 2021.
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When we live to love with Jesus, we also experience joy. As we experience His joy, we are strengthened even more to live to love. Relationships are draining when we approach them from a selfish frame of mind. Do you understand by now that expecting others to serve you or to make you happy puts you under their power? No one can satisfy your deepest longings except Jesus Christ. He created you to experience contentment and joy as He loves through you, and this is the seventh reason I suggest that God has called His people to live to love with Jesus.
Reason #7: Living to love results in your being filled with Jesus’ joy.
Jesus promised His disciples that if they loved one another as He had loved them in the power of the Holy Spirit, they would be filled with His joy. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:10-11). God intends to motivate us to love like He loves, so He instills in us the hope that we will experience His joy when we actually live that way. Here’s how it works. When God’s people find their satisfaction in Him as the source of fullness, they come to Him through the wonderful, glorious work of His Son, Jesus Christ. This enables them to give freely without having to get anything back in return. This is a direct result of what the Father and Son planned and accomplished on their behalf. So they are filled with joy as they love each other and rejoice. The Holy Spirit expresses the overflowing love and joy of the Father and Son in the hearts of those who believe, as they love with Him. If you wish to experience Jesus’ joy, then intentionally live to know God and love with Him each day.
Reconsider seven reasons to live to love with Jesus as your purpose in life.
This year, month by month, I’ve presented seven powerful reasons for rethinking what you live for and make living to love with Jesus your purpose for living. Let’s reconsider those seven reasons.
- God is love.
- Living to love with Jesus was His command to His followers.
- Loving with Jesus is the proof that we know God.
- Living to love with Jesus gives us confidence in the Day of Judgment.
- Living to love with Jesus is the greatest unifier of God’s people.
- If you don’t live to love with Jesus, you waste your life.
- Living to love results in your being filled with Jesus’ joy.
Have you thought about what it will be like to be filled with Jesus’ joy, and how that is going to happen? It’s similar to the experience of a young son when he knows he has pleased his parents and sees their joy at his obedience. Their joy makes him joyful! That’s what God desires and has planned for all of those who have lived their lives to love with Jesus. There will come a moment in their lives when they stand before Him who is love, having lived to please Him, and they will be filled with His joy over their obedience. I hope you’ll agree with me that living to love sounds like a wise purpose for our lives. Can you see how living with Him will result in your being filled with Jesus’ joy?
In Psalm 90:12, the Spirit of Jesus gave this gift of wisdom. “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” On birthdays, we usually celebrate the number of years we’ve lived, however, this verse informs us to number our days. In His love for you, God gives you a set number of days, at the end of which, you will present yourself to Him. Knowing that—in and of itself—is a gift of wisdom, so that when you give an account to Him, you may present to Him a heart of wisdom. Apparently, numbering our days isn’t natural, it has to be learned. So what does it mean to number your days?
Number 1. There’s wisdom apparently in numbering your days. You do that by multiplying your age today (for example: let’s say you’re 50 years old today) by 365 which equals 18,250 days. Then subtract one day for each leap year that has occurred in your life (leap years occur every four years beginning from the ’00 year of the century). So you would subtract 12 days and add one since you are starting the next year today. This means that God has given you 18,239 days that you will present before Him if this were your last day to live. Of course, we pray that God will give you many more days. If you stop and meditate on the fact that God has given you 18,239 days to live, your heart will grow in wisdom instead of foolishness. It should lead you to think about what you do with the gift of life that God has given you.
Number 2. To “number our days” means to recognize that each day you wake up is a gift from God to be used for Him—for His pleasure and glory and not for your own selfish pleasure and glory. Knowing that you are to give an account to Him, who is love, will help you realize that each day is to be lived with the ambition of loving Him and loving with Him, everyone He puts in your path each day. Jesus wants to love through you—for His pleasure and glory—and for your ultimate joy.
The apostle Paul understood how to number his days. “…We also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad…For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor. 5:9-10; 14-15).
You’ll notice that those who haven’t died with Jesus, live for themselves, but those who died with Jesus, are free to live for and love with Him. Without Jesus, we waste our days living to love ourselves—we do what feels good to us or seems right to us. Even what we do for others, we do, so we can feel good about ourselves. That’s earthly wisdom. Those days are numbered as days in the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13). Thanks be to God, all of God’s children have a new birthday! There is a day, numbered by God, that each of His children are born again by His Spirit. The numbering starts over again. The good news of the gospel washes their hearts like a tsunami sweeps away everything in its path. The foolishly wasted days are numbered and forgiven. What great news it is to hear that those dark days will not to be counted against them when they present themselves to Him at the end of their days.
If you’ve had your new spiritual birthday, God is now in the process of redeeming your days. You are learning to number the days of light and love. I hope you’ll remember that is why He gives you life each day. To number them well is to realize you’ve been given a new purpose for each day—to live to love with Jesus for His pleasure and glory.
Number 3. Numbering your days is recognizing that God has already numbered all of them. The Apostle Paul also had this understanding. He told the Athenians, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). We do not know our appointed time, the end of our days on earth, but God has determined it. For this reason, we want to be ready to meet him everyday.
Number 4. Wisdom teaches us that at the end of each day, we should present our hearts to Him and give an account for the gift of life that He gave us and the opportunities we had to love and trust Him and love with Him those He put in our paths. Some days are numbered differently than others. A number of our days are filled with blessing, comfort, and good things. There are also days of trouble, evil, temptation, and disappointment to present to Him as well. However, a heart of wisdom will look at those very different days alike—each is filled with opportunities to trust Him and love with Him—regardless of the situation. If we come to the end of each day with a heart of wisdom, we will also come to the end of our lives and be able to present to Him a heart of wisdom for His pleasure and glory.
Number 5. It may strike you, that many days have not been numbered wisely. To our grief and shame, there have been days when we have not ended the day by clearing our consciences with Him as to how we didn’t love Him or the people He put in our paths. We can now see that our hearts were not hearts of wisdom, but were hard, cold, careless hearts that acted foolishly. In 100% of those cases, we will notice that we didn’t begin those days with wisdom either. We didn’t thank Him for that new day, purposing to live to love with Him. Therefore we didn’t end each day prepared to meet Him. Not realizing it, we were actually avoiding Him and running away from Him.
I wish I had paid more attention to God’s Word earlier in my life. Don’t you? I am ashamed to say that I have wasted thousands of days living for myself. So the fifth thing it means to number our days is to practice presenting ourselves to Him at the end of the day. This is when we take responsibility for not living to love those He put in our paths and thanking Him for giving us grace to love. It’s a protection for us so that our hearts don’t grow hard, cold, careless, and nonchalant about sin and relationships. Otherwise we will wake up one day and discover we have drifted into a very bad path. As for me, I’ve found peace and have overcome discouragement, guilt, and condemnation by humbling myself, confessing what I did with the gift of life He gave me, thanking Him for covering my failures with His blood, and purposing that if He will give me another day, I will count it as an opportunity to love Him and love with Him. You can experience the same peace by numbering your days and presenting yourself to Him.
I hope and pray that you will enjoy this gift of wisdom for the rest of your days! You can use this gift this evening as you lie in your bed and thank Him for the gift of life, another day, and present to Him how you loved your wife or husband, your children, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and friends and work associates whom He put in your path for His glory. And if you didn’t do that, then wisely humble yourself, thank Him for His forgiveness, and repent in the morning as you begin a new day with what I call the live to love prayer.
“Father, thank You for another day of life to love You and live to love with Jesus. Fill me with the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of Christ, so that I can love and trust You and love those you put in my path—and now I add—and number my days wisely, for Your glory.”
If you live for God’s pleasure and glory, you will see His joy when you present your days to Him. When you see His joy, you will be overwhelmed with joy and share His glory with Him. That will be Jesus’ ultimate birthday present to you when these days of labor pains are ended and you are birthed by grace into the light of His presence. So happy whatever day it is for you! Living to love with Jesus will not only fill you with joy now, but put you in a position to be overwhelmed with His joy when you come to the end of your days.
If you haven’t already checked out the livetolovewithjesus.com website, please do. You’ll find the Live to Love book in audiobook, ebook, and print form, all for free. God has provided for us to make this available for you and your friends. Hopefully you’ll share the good news with others.
Also, I invite you to follow me on The Spirit of Elijah Ministries facebook page. Each morning, I post a Scripture that encourages us to love with Jesus, along with a few comments. You can also connect with me on Facebook at Norm Wakefield, or LinkedIn or MeWe.
One last encouragement, especially for you men. If you haven’t listened to the resources for men on the Elijah Ministries website, I hope you’ll visit www.spiritofelijah.com and check out the mp3 downloads that are available for your equipping and encouragement. You can stream them right to your phone or iPad and listen as you work out, run errands, commute to work, or whenever it’s convenient.
Thanks again for tuning in to the Live to Love blog. May the Lord fill us all to live to love with Jesus.