Monday, November 3, 2008

Joy... and All Things Jesus

Jesus Holds Me
(1st stanza)

There's a path along life's highway

So common and well trod,

By the shoes of burdened Christians

Who won't put their trust in God.

They've been born of the spirit,

But they live by what they see

So they trust in their own efforts

Never living in belief.

(chorus)

I'm not holding onto Jesus

He's holding onto me

He died and rose again to set me free.

I am resting in the Spirit,

Not afraid of what will be,

I'm not holding onto Jesus,

He's holding onto me.

I'm not sure who wrote it, but The Marshall Family sang this song on their CD, “Mountain Heritage”. I think it's one of my favorites because the words echo my heart. I used to be the burdened Christian in the stanza but now, praise God, I can truthfully sing the chorus: Jesus is holding onto me.

The reason I wrote down a few of the words is because I thought this song went well with what this post is going to be about.

Someone from our church lent us the episodes from the television series of Christy. After watching them, I was impressed with the quality of some of it but wanted to re-read the book. It had been years since I had done so. The next time my sisters and I walked to the library, I checked it out and read it.

Catherine Marshall wrote some very profound things. Things full of wisdom; things that would take courage to write, if one was part of her religious circle. But she still wrote them and I think if Mrs. Marshall really believed what she wrote, she was victorious in many areas of her walk with Christ that not many of His children have even dared dream of.

Since I cannot quote the book exactly (copyright laws), I will paraphrase what blessed me. Hopefully, you will get the same blessing out of this as I have. :-)

In Christy, you have Miss Alice: a Christian who has discovered the secret to being victorious in Christ. Then, you have Christy: a young Christian who is a seeker.

Miss Alice was not perfect and she never claimed to be. In fact, it was from her humbleness that came her wisdom. When Christy came to her for advice, Miss Alice gently pointed her away from herself: learn from the Bible, Christy; learn from your school children; learn from your friends among the mountain people;learn from nature. The sentence that struck me was this: Don't be afraid to ask, Christy. She even told her to not be afraid to ask the nearly atheistic doctor who was challenging Christy's faith. Miss Alice said if a person really seeks the truth, that person will find it. She added that the only times she didn't get a clear answer from God was when she wasn't being completely honest with Him. (From experience, I can vouch for the truth in that statement!)

As I was reading this, I was remembering a verse I memorized as a child: I am the way, the truth, the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me... (emphasis mine) Jesus said that. If He's the truth, I'll bet He can satisfactorily answer any question I send His way.

Thoughts?

The second thing that really struck me in Christy, was the talk about religion. Do you know how many religions have taught that if a person enjoys himself, he's sinning? Lots of them. In fact, I would say 99% of them. Christy's mountain people were among those who believe God doesn't want His children to be happy. But Miss Alice brought them a whole new line of thought... Pay attention, now. :-)

She said that heresy is the lack of joy.

That's quite a bold statement to make. But so true! So very true. How many times in Scripture does the Bible tell us to rejoice? To be thankful? Or to be content? I, personally, haven't counted, but I would make a guess at several hundreds, perhaps even thousands of times.

Have you ever heard this said before?... “I know lots of Christians who claim to believe in Jesus and all that but they're unhappy.” It's ironic when people, searching for acceptance from God, fail to truly please Him by not taking Him at His word.

Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say, rejoice.

Am I joyful? Not all the time. There are moments, even days, when I forget God's promises and look at myself. Anyone would lose their joy if they knew what I was really like on the inside before God saved me. I believe everything in my old nature adds up to one thing: selfishness. It's depressing when I view myself that way. I always end up asking myself, “How can I ever change myself? How can I ever be good?”

The answer comes back to this: I can't, but Jesus is. And His blood has already covered my filthy sins and washed me white as snow. When I have joy, I'm looking straight to Jesus.

That's why the lack of joy is heresy: if we aren't joyful, we're denying or doubting what Jesus has done for us. And He's done so very much for us.

Oh dear reader, may His love... His hope... His peace... His joy... reach right into your heart!

2 comments:

Kaitlin said...

Hi Naomi,

I really like your blog! :D We have one too. Well, it's a family blog. If you send me your email address. I can send you invitation since it's a private blog.

Love, Kaitlin

Treasuries of Joy said...

Hi! Thanks for commenting. I'll send you my email. :-) Thanks for inviting me!