Communion with God Essential to Abiding Joy

I do not intend for this to be but a short musing on a plain reflection — communion with God is essential to abiding joy!  I do increasingly realize the lack of joy amongst the body of Christ today, and I do not mean to exclude myself from this accusation.  A quick thought concerning an antidote — it is obvious really — an increase in the quality, even the constancy of communion with God.  We may be sure that Jesus was a man of afflictions, but He had to be the most joyful person to have ever set foot on earth because He kept constant communion with God, the greatest Joy (cf. Ps 43.4).  Sin is what separates us from God.  Jesus never sinned.  It was not until He became sin on the cross for us that He screamed of God-forsakenness for the first time.  Both before and during that anguish, the constant hope of our Lord was reunion with God the Father, and no doubt, God the Spirit in their eternal communion.  This, the writer of Hebrews instructs us (12.2), was (at least in large part) the joy that was set before Him, enabling the Lord to endure the cross.  Another part of that joy was the joy of communion with God that He purchased for everyone who believes — our joy climactic in God was a part of His own surpassing joy!  Jesus died and was raised for us in order that we might be reconciled to God.  We do often forget that God is the goal of salvation, that Christ-likeness is the goal of sanctification, and thus, that ever-increasing and everlasting joy in God as we are changed into Christ’s image is the preeminent result and evidence of real and vital communion with God.  It is, as Paul would say to us, as we behold the glory of the Lord that we too are transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor 3.18).  But, I say, how shall we ever behold the Lord’s glory if we do not have enlivening communion with Him?  Communion with God is an absolute essential of the Christian life.  By it, we are transformed into the image of Jesus — not the physical image of course, but our hearts are changed, and by that inward transformation, so our lives are changed so that we think and reason and discern and talk and feel and appropriate the desires and affections of Jesus for God and all that is pleasing to Him in accordance with His Word.  Thus, by it, we will, as our Lord, make time for God, steal away with Him during the three o’clock hour to have some sweetest exchange with Him, devote ourselves to those things that advance His kingdom and build up the church, redeem precious time that we might otherwise have abandoned to fruitless employments, work diligently as unto the Lord, parent with tears in earnest prayers before His face (though Christ was no literal parent), etc., etc.  Communion is not that which is set apart from the rest of our real days.  Communion with God is to be that which governs and permeates our days.  Even as a man can pray without having real communion with God, or read His Bible in like vanity, so by contrary comparison, a person may have real communion with God while they change their child’s diapers or engage in parental discipline, or when spouses date one another and serve one another in the home in secret, or when you, the late shift UPS employee, labors with all of your strength while trusting mightily and wholly upon the Lord — yes, we enjoy communion with God here also.  Even as the worship of God is not confined to an hour on Sunday mornings but spills over into every abiding second of every day of your life in Christ, so also communion with God is that which, begun at new birth, continues without cessation (though it can be hindered by our sin).  God is no call girl.  He saved and is saving us, having already known us from eternity and perfectly at that, so that He might make Himself the ever present God — the God who is with us!  He is to pervade our moments as a foretaste of everlasting life.  And this, I say, is the key ingredient to abiding joy — a vital, conscious relationship with the most delightful being, a being who is most true to His own beauty and glory and wonder when He invites us to delight ourselves in Him (cf. Ps 37.4).  Brothers and sisters, if we would be true to the sure hope of our God in saving us, we will be earnest in and jealous for communion with God, and this, I trust, will be greatly profitable for us all as we find that when all other joys fade away (as is the nature of every earthly joy), yet God, our exceeding joy, remains forever and ever and ever and ever, without end.  Communion with God is essential to abiding joy because by communion with God we find Him to be pure Joy, the taste of Whom causes all other joys to become tasteless, and therefore, unworthy of our greatest affections.  If it is an abiding joy that you seek, look no further than the God readily available to you in that Book now laying upon your bed side table — you know, the one that has recently been collecting a little too much downtime.

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