In March I wrote about what I was learning regarding obedience and joy in this post.
Last night I was reading a book I've been enjoying by Oswald Chambers, The Love of God. In a section called The Ministry of the Unnoticed he writes on following Jesus example. I was so excited because he puts so much more eloquently what I was trying to express in the ramblings of my previous post.
Chambers writes, ""These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). If Jesus Christ is the life of God and we have to follow Him, we must find out what His joy was. It certainly was not happiness. The joy of the Lord Jesus Christ lay in doing exactly what He came to do. He did not come to save men first of all, He came to do His Father's will. The saving of men was the natural outcome of this, but our Lord's one great obedience was not to the needs of men but to the will of His Father, and He says, "As my Father sent me even so send I you." We are never told to consecrate our gifts to God, but we are told to dedicate ourselves. The joy of anything, from a blade of grass upward, is to fulfill its created purpose "that we should be to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:12). We are not here to win souls, to do good to others. That is the natural outcome but it is not our aim, and this is where so many of us cease to be followers. We will follow God as long as He makes us a blessing to others, but when He does not, we will not follow. Suppose our Lord had measured His life by whether or not He was a blessing to others. Why, He was a "stone of stumbling" to thousands, actually to His own neighbors, to His own nation, because through Him they blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and in His own country "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58). If our Lord had measured His life by its actual results, He would have been full of misery. We get switched off when instead of following God we follow Christian work and workers. We are much more concerned over the passion for souls than the passion for Christ. The passions for Christ is the counterpart of His passion for God. The life of God is manifested in our Lord Jesus Christ. He came to do His Father's will; then when we are following Him, it will be a matter of indifference whether God puts us in the forefront or in the back seat. When we realize this, then the joy of the Lord is ours because we are fulfilling our regenerated purpose. The passion for souls is not a New Testament idea at all, but religious commercialism. When we are taken up with this passion, the joy of the Lord is never ours but only an excitable joy which always leaves a snare behind. God engineers our circumstances as He did those of His Son; all we have to do is to follow where He places us. The majority of us are busy trying to place ourselves. God alters things while we wait for Him. Are we fulfilling the purpose of our recreation, namely, to glorify God? The sign that we are glorifying God is not that we are happy: happiness is childish, individual and pagan. It is natural for a child to be happy because a child does not face facts, but a Christian who is merely happy is blind. The way God's life manifests itself in joy is in a peace which has no desire for praise... That is the joy of the life of God; it is uncrushable life, and there is never life without joy."