There is a way to be joyful all the time, every second, no matter what is happening. I am so excited to share this way with you.
You know those crying moments where the tears just won’t stop flowing? There are just tears spilling over and waves after waves of hiccupy tears, your face red and your eyes puffy. Maybe you haven’t had a cry like that since you were a kid. Or maybe you cried like that an hour ago.
What if I told you that True Joy was like that kind of cry? Overflowing, wave after wave, and even existing in the MIDST of a cry like that? What if I told you that True Joy exists beyond all circumstance, beyond all measure of doubt, beyond all fear?
Maybe you would believe me half-heartedly. Maybe you would think I’m crazy. But let me tell you that it’s true.
Here’s where we begin:
“Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Wooow. What a lot of beauty in just a few verses. Let’s unpack it!
Therefore, (referencing the previous verse about forgiving as Christ forgave us). Stop there! Because Christ forgave you, THEREFORE…
Be imitators of God. We imitate Him in forgiving others. We imitate Him in all that He is. We imitate Him through the Holy Spirit, which we receive when we ask Him into our heart. We imitate Him…
as His beloved children. We’re God’s beloved. He loves us so much. More than the love of a parent, spouse, best friend, child. He loves us so much more than we can even comprehend. He loves us to point of a death on the Cross.
Therefore – love looks like the Cross. Like sacrifice.
Abundant life looks like complete sacrifice.
When I read these verses in Ephesians a few nights ago, the Holy Spirit whispered those words to me. “Abundant life looks like complete sacrifice.”
Does that sound crazy to you? Maybe it does, if you listen to the world, which says:
“Freedom looks like having a lot of money.”
“Freedom looks like sexual liberation.”
“Freedom looks like the perfect body.”
“Freedom looks like pleasure and comfort.”
“Freedom looks like stuff and more possessions.”
“Freedom is the opposite of slavery.”
That last line is true in some ways. But if our freedom is in money or sex or comfort or stuff, we are actually enslaved to these things. The Truth is that freedom comes in the form of slavery to Christ. My life is for Him, from Him, through Him. How anti-world, but oh how true.
Freedom looks like sacrificing my desires to live for Him. Freedom looks like giving up my life just like He gave up His. “To live is Christ; to die is gain.”
So… where does the overflowing joy come in?
“Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.”
We get to live in the OVERFLOW of HIS love.
We’re called to IMITATE HIM – a gift from Christ because He knows full well (and so do we) that we can’t conjure this kind of love ourselves. And when we live in Him, we live in joy, because He IS Joy.
When we live in sacrifice, we experience His Joy overflowing, because He invented Joy in sacrifice.
And the good news? We’re not meant or called or asked to do it alone. We can’t. Only He can.
The greatest gift of all is Jesus Christ, and that, when we put our faith in Him, believe in Him in our heart and confess with our mouth that He is Lord, He gives us His Holy Spirit to discern, live in, and walk with Him. He wants to live His life through you.
Does that sound radical? It IS! This is the place of true joy, everlasting and eternal Life, and abundant love and freedom. This is living. This is Truth. This is JESUS.
Questions? Leave one in the comments below, or DM me on Instagram @cassandraafulford. I would loove to chat about this amazing life with you!