“I was reading in Mark’s gospel the other day about the parable of the sower,” Stan commented one morning, “and I was reminded of something one of my neighbors told me about her faith walk.”
“What was that?” I asked.
“Being robbed of joy and then finding it again.”
“What was that all about? How was she robbed of joy in the first place?”
“It was just like what Jesus talked about in the parable,” Stan replied. “Through some people God brought into her life, she heard and received the word of the gospel with great joy, and then she lost it.”
“Lost her joy? How’d that happen?”
“Again it was just like in the parable,” Stan said. “Apparently, there were some people in her life who were not believers and they ridiculed her new-found faith. She didn’t have the roots of faith she needed to deal with that ridicule and her joy soon disappeared. But then she departed from the parable.”
“Departed from the parable? What’s that mean?”
“As you will remember in the parable,” Stan replied, “it says that the person who was robbed of joy immediately fell away. But that didn’t happen with my neighbor. She chose to dig deeper to find again the joy that had been taken away.”
“How did she dig deeper?”
“As she tells it,” Stan said, “she greatly missed the joy she had experienced, she wanted it back, and she decided to dive into God’s word to see if she could do that.”
“Discipleship,” was Stan’s one-word answer.
“In what way?”
“She chose to deny being ridiculed for her faith, then she chose to take up all that God had and has for her to take up in having deep roots of faith, and, then, of course, there was and is the third step of following wherever, however, and whenever God would lead her.”
“And did that lead her back to the joy that had been taken away?” I asked.
“It did, indeed,” Stan replied. “Thankfully, she didn’t settle for having her joy taken away. She fought for it with the marvelous result of being a joy-filled Christian!”
Bible verses to consider:
And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary, then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. Mark 4:16-17.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy, . . . . Galatians 5:22.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the truth of your word and for those who brought it to me so I could accept it and know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for the fruit of the Spirit that includes joy. I confess that too often I am not filled with the joy you have and intend for me. Please help me in following every step of your lead to claim, live, and manifest all of the joy you provide. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have the joy of knowing you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, is that because you have not accepted His free and gracious provision? If that’s the case, why? What’s in the way? If you are a Christian not filled with joy, why is that? Joy is the second-listed fruit of the Spirit. If you want to claim and live that joy, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?