Isaiah 64:1-4, 8-11
Joy is an internal quality of the heart that is dependent on a right relationship with God. Many people I have met experience this joy regardless of their outer circumstances. A few months ago, I lost a friend who had struggled with pain and sickness due to cancer. We visited in his home just a few weeks before his death, and during our time together he talked about the joy inside his heart through Christ.
Isaiah understood this concept of joy and believed he had the responsibility to press it forward. As believers in God, we have the responsibility to press forward the joy of God we have discovered in Jesus Christ.
God Has Anointed Us to Proclaim the Joy of Comfort and Encouragement
Like the Israelites of Isaiah’s day, there are many who cower in fear under the shadow of death with a self-esteem that has collapsed. God has called His people to be a comfort to those who are afflicted, brokenhearted, imprisoned by physical ailments, are spiritual destitute, and those who are hurting and mourning their losses.
How can we be a comfort and encouragement to others?
• By Listening. Many people have no one with whom to share their hurts on a deep level. Their agony boils within them, and there is no release valve, so pressure builds until they are ready to explode. Others are lonely with no one to talk to on a regular basis. I once knew a lady who said she was a prisoner in her own home. Because of a physical ailment, she was unable to leave her apartment for weeks. She expressed that there would be days when she had no communication with the outside world.
• By Acts of Kindness. We often hear of random acts of kindness, which are good; but I believe we should have intentional acts of kindness toward people we know who need help. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
• By Prayer. Someone once said the greatest blessing of prayer is not in receiving the answer but in being the kind of person God can trust with the answer. There is someone right now asking God for help for a certain circumstance occurring in his or her life, and you may be the answer to that prayer!
William Barclay said one of the highest human duties is the duty of encouragement. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. A word of praise, thanks, appreciation or cheer often has kept a person on his or her feet. Blessed is the person who speaks such a word! To be an encourager is to bless, praise and glorify God and others!
God Has Called Us to Proclaim the Joy of Repaired Lives
When sin entered the world, the lives of every person since Adam and Eve were tainted with the corruption of spiritual life. Sin ruined creation. Bill Gaither wrote the song “He Touched Me,” which proclaims ruined lives are the reason Jesus came and died on the cross. When I accepted Him as my Savior, He repaired the spiritual walls of my life and transformed me into a new person. Because of the joy of my repaired life, I want to share the good news of salvation with others!
God Has Called Us to Proclaim the Joy of God’s Love
St. Augustine is credited with having said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” What is it that Isaiah says God loves?
A. God loves justice (v. 8a).
B. God loves relationship (v. 9).
C. God loves salvation (v. 10).
D. God loves righteousness (v. 11).
What God loves, His people also ought to love! During this Christmas season, experience the joy Jesus brings to life. Sing “Joy to the World” with those you love.