19th day of Advent
December 21st, 2017
FOCUSING ON THE JOY & NEW HOPE DURING THIS ADVENT SEASON
by Rev. Denis Robert, Anglican Church of Tanzania
The more clear our understanding of the Scriptures, the more clearly we will see our hope in Christ’s birth. The more clearly we see our hope in Christ, the more joy we will know. The more we take time to learn what God has revealed to us about what He has prepared for us, the more joy we will find in that hope of Jesus' birth.
Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit - Joy is evidenced in our lives when we are walking by the Spirit of God rather than by our sinful flesh nature. The fruits of the Spirit are characteristics of God that were evidenced in the life of Christ and are gifts that God wants to build into our lives.
In Isaiah 53, the coming Messiah was described as “a man of sorrows.” "He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. He was one from whom people hid their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Jesus had every reason to live as “a man of sorrows.” Yet this is not the picture we have of Him in the Gospels. In Hebrews, we are being told that the Christ of the Gospels is a man of joy, in spite of the conflicts and obstacles that confronted him. Jesus Christ perfectly carried out the will of God, and His life reflected God’s character. Even in His passion, Jesus knew joy.
The birth of Jesus Christ is the key to our joy. We don’t have to scrounge up happy feelings from inside our own hearts; our joy comes from Jesus Christ. As we live seeking Him, joy resides in us. Joy is inherent in being a Christ follower. We are out of step with the world as we follow Christ; the world mistreats us because it mistreated Him. But nothing separates us from God's Love and in that Love we know joy.
The basis of our joy is our confidence, that regardless of what is going on around us, God loves us, and He is our source of supply. We can have joy in the midst of dark circumstances and in the midst of need because our eyes are focused not on our circumstances or on our need, but on our God, who is greater than both. As we keep our eyes focused on God and the hope that is set before us, He promises us we will run this race of life with hope and joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him during this holy Advent. May you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus' name.
Guest Blogger: Mchungaji Denis Robert of Buganjo and Sowakologi Parish, Diocese of Rorya, Anglican Church of Tanzania.
Rev. Denis is an energetic evangelical minister of the Gospel. We have worked together among the Luo and Kuria, bringing the Light of the Gospel to many a dark place, hurting heart and lost soul. I have benefited a great deal from his love and friendship. Asante sana (Thank you) Mchungaji.
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Daily Readings: Lectionary Year B