Good Shepherd Lutheran

Don’t Settle
The very first Christmas gift was Jesus himself. That gift of the Messiah had such an impact on the shepherds that they felt compelled to spread the joyful news to everyone they met after encountering him. This was the lasting hope and joy that they couldn’t just keep to themselves.
Jesus tells us what this kind of hope and joy can mean for our lives. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
We all taste hope. We all experience joy. But how many of us can say our joy is complete? Joy starts for us the same way it started for the shepherds. It begins with meeting Jesus. Without that foundation, how can we hope to have lasting joy? Few things last forever. But an encounter with Jesus remains and grows through all eternity.
But where does our joy come from? It actually has far less to do with what happens in our daily lives than we might think. In fact, according to many passages in the Bible, hope and joy are more of a mindset for living that arises out of what Jesus did at Christmas and the gift of salvation that he offered on the cross.
The apostle Paul clearly demonstrates this truth in Philippians 4:4–5: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
One of the most important parts of walking in hope and joy is simply to choose to rejoice in everything! Much of the hope, joy, and rejoicing in the Bible isn’t really connected to circumstances. It’s connected to a decision. In fact, one of the keys to a life of joy is to be able rejoice even when the circumstances are disappointing or painful.
The gift of eternal life should be more than enough to cause us to rejoice in every single situation. But eternal life and salvation are about more than just going to heaven. Salvation means we’re God’s child. Salvation means we’re part of God’s family. And being God’s child means being constantly on His mind and having Him involved and working in every part of our lives.
Our joy is stolen when we forget the shepherds’ secret. The Savior has come! In him, we’re saved. In him, we win! The amazing thing is, no matter what happens, that can never be taken away from us.
Jesus tells us, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). So, let’s live like we’re free. Let’s live like we’re loved. Let’s live like we’re saved. Every moment is a chance to live out our praises to our amazing King and rejoice. Every moment is an opportunity to be filled and overflow with joy!
So, rejoice in the Lord! Claim your joy! Don’t settle for anything less.