From his psychological clinical practice of over twenty years, Larry Crabb, the author of the book Inside Out, found that people live their lives in an attempt to satisfy basic longings, which he sorts into three categories, which are (1) making/spending money/achievements, (2) relationships, and (3) God.  If we are living our lives the way God intended, the results of which would be relationships with God and others first and material issues last, our lives will be filled with joy.  If we are living our lives outside in, we may never get to the relationships we should have, those that make life worth living.

Are we more or less like God when we are joyful?  As Pastor Mark pointed out this past Sunday, we see in Galatians 5:22-23 that joy is the character of God. Our songs, hymns and Scripture reveal this fact most emphatically and while joy should be evident in all facets of life, it should surely be most pronounced in our families.  While this goes without saying, it requires that we are intentional about it, that we force ourselves to live inside out, and that requires a change of priorities.

What was the purpose Jesus had in mind when he said, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”?  A rich man’s priorities are likely ones focused on money rather than a relationship with God.  If we are living our lives outside in, how are we any different than the rich man?  God’s intent is that His creation mirror His joy.  See Psalm 19, which describes God’s creation expressing everyday God’s joy at simply being, at existing and knowing existence to be good. While God gave man the flexibility to live according to his choices, we were made in God’s image and as such, His intent is for us to reflect His fierce joy in life.

Check out John 15:9-11.  Jesus wants our joy to be complete.  It will not be complete if we are living outside in.  Be complete – be joyful!

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