John 10:7-10 (NIV) The Good Shepherd
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Celebration is a beautiful part of life that many do not enjoy. We do not celebrate ourselves enough. Human tendency is to see the bad rather than the good. John 10:10 says that Jesus came that we might have the abundant life. If we were obedient to that statement, we would be living that abundant life. I have chosen to listen to Jesus here and live a life of joy and peace, walking in His ways.
“Celebration is central to all the Spiritual Disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity, the Disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of modern Pharisees.”1 Since it is Spiritual to be joyful and celebrate, why do so many resist? Abe Lincoln said, “People are just about as happy as they made up their minds to be.” Happiness or joy is a choice, a decision! What choice will you make? Be thankful for the gifts God has given you. Have an attitude of gratitude, and let it flavor all you do. Celebrate any event when something is completed. Recognize yourself for an accomplishment. You may be walking through the valley, but don’t stop. Keep walking!
Jesus was all about Joy! We can rejoice always because we can trust in God. He is faithful! At Easter, it looked like all the Disciple’s hopes and dreams had come to an end. But, He is risen. He is risen indeed! We can rely on Christ because not even death could stop Him. God said His Word will not return to Him void. David Schroeder says, “The triumph of Jesus has already been attained: He has provided a satisfactory sacrifice for our salvation by His crucifixion, and he has victoriously conquered death by His resurrection.”3 His resurrection procured the Holy Spirit for us, our Comforter and Teacher. And with the Holy Spirit came the Fruit of the Spirit. I can work with some love, joy and peace right about now.
“Disciples of the kingdom are forward-looking people. We live expectantly, believing that the future belongs to Jesus because he is coming back to possess it and all that his Father created.”2 Focus on good things and endure the bad. Walk through the valley. Laugh as often as possible, especially at yourself. Joel 2:28 (NKJV) says,28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.” Celebrate your imagination; your visions. What is the strongest nation in the world? The imagination!
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says, 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. How do you celebrate holidays like Christmas? Is it all about what you get or what you give? The widow celebrated all God had done for her even though it may be small in other’s eyes. Being in Jesus is something to celebrate all by itself. There is no greater blessing!
Being alert is being obedient. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His disciples to stay awake (alert) and pray for Him because He was in distress knowing what was coming. They failed at their task and Jesus was alone. Or was He? The only time Jesus was alone was when He hung on the cross after absorbing your sins and mine. But for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross (and His separation from God) for our salvation. Our salvation was His joy and the reason for His coming. He came to seek and save the lost. That’s us! Obedience leads to joy because when we walk in the Father’s ways, it leads to blessings. Jesus obeyed, and we are blessed. By one man’s obedience, we are saved. That is all the reason we need to celebrate. Celebrate with me and thank God the Father that He sent His Son to seek and save the lost. In His name I pray!
1Foster, Richard J.. Celebration of Discipline, Special Anniversary Edition (p. 191). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
2Schroeder, David E. Follow Me, The Disciple-making Strategy of Jesus, (p. 227) Xulon Press
32Schroeder, David E. Follow Me, The Disciple-making Strategy of Jesus, (p. 237) Xulon Press