Article I

Contemporary Christian music (a.k.a. CCM), which stems from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s, has introduced many talented performers/singers over its 40+ year history. And like any of the other industry genres, there are only a few artists whose music has stood the test of time. Carman is one of those artists. Though he’s now primarily seen and heard on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (a.k.a. TBN), Carman’s music is still known for its varied styles and strong Gospel message.

When he was touring, Carman (full name: Carman Domenic Licciardello) was a charismatic sight to behold. His concerts were incredible experiences; more like a rock-n-roll, Billy Graham Crusade than a church event. After each concert, hundreds of people would work their way down to the counseling area to accept Christ; often as many as 5,000 in an evening. Amazingly, admission to a Carman concert was usually free and an offering generally was taken.

Carman could fill the largest of stadiums, too, and did. In fact, Carman holds the record for the largest Christian music concert ever. It took place in Dallas, Texas, at the famed Texas Stadium (former home of the Dallas Cowboys). But more than that, if you take the mega stadium acts that played the famed landmark (Pink Floyd, U2, Madonna, The Jackson Five, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Metallica, et al.) you’ll see that, as the newspapers noted, the one act that drew the highest attendance in Texas Stadium’s history was Carman, with 71,132 in attendance.

Carman’s ability to cover any style of music, from Gospel/R&B to Rock-a-Billy, from ballads to Hip-Hop, made him appealing to all walks-of-life. The name “Carman” assured listeners that his albums would take its listeners on a journey that wasn’t just an all-American cultural trip through popular musical styles, but was also a deep walk into all things theological. Take the song Yahweh, as an example. It’s from Carman’s 1983 album Sunday’s On The Way:

Verse 1:
Call thy walls salvation,
Call thy gates praised.
There’ll be no moon to light the nights,
No sun to light the days.
For God shall be thy glory,
An everlasting light.
The Lord shall reign forever,
In power and in might.

Chorus:
His name is Yahweh.
The Lord is one. (repeat)
Alpha and Omega,
Beginning and The End.
The Word, Who reigns forever.
Yahweh. Redeemer. Friend.

Verse 2:
His people shall be righteous,
They shall possess this land.
The branches of His plantings,
And the works of His hands.
For from a small beginning,
A mighty nation grows.
And in the fullness of His time,
The whole wide world will know (repeat chorus).

There, in simple melody, is a lyric so full of the truth of who our Creator is — Yahweh! Hear this song and you’ll have these words embedded in your mind. Meditate on them and you’ll grow in this lyric’s basic truth; Yahweh, is everything humanity needs and so much more. Let’s look deeper into the meaning of the name “Yahweh,” one of the three primary names of God (Elohim/Deity).

First, before we can understand the names of God, we must understand the nature of Hebrew names. Hebrew names are not meant to be just formal titles used to identify one person from another, as they are in our western culture. No, they are actually sentences within themselves. It’s very similar, in fact, to how Native-Americans named their children. You know, names like “Crazy Horse,” “Sitting Bull,” “Black Hawk,” etc. which weren’t exactly complete sentences, like the Hebrew names were, but descriptions of the individual’s perceived character traits. Our Creator’s name, Yahweh, is a full sentence and it’s the shortest sentence in any language. So, what is this short sentence? What does the name “Yahweh” mean, in English? The answer is, stated simply — “I AM.”

Let’s look back into the Old Testament book of Exodus when the Almighty first declared His name to be Yahweh — I AM. In Exodus chapter 3, Moses is seen on the mountain of God talking to the angel of the Lord, who is speaking from a bush that appears to be burning, but it’s not being consumed. It’s here that God tells Moses that He has chosen him to return to Egypt and command Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. To which Moses immediately begins his argument with God that he can’t go for various reasons, one of which is Moses doesn’t know God’s name. We pick up in verse 13-14:

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM Who I AM [Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh]. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM [Yahweh] has sent me to you.’”

Many scholars believe that Yahweh, actually spelled YHWH in the Hebrew language, is the third person singular form of the ancient Hebrew verb “haya,” which means in English “to be.” The basic driving force of this verb describes a state of existence. As the third person form of haya, the name “Yahweh” literally means “He [God] is,” or “He [Elohim] exists.” It’s a description of who God Almighty, is. He is “The Self-Existing One.” Ponder that thought for a moment (selah/pause). He is “The Self-Existing One.” How’s that for a name!? God is “The Self-Existing One.” It blows the mind a bit, doesn’t it? God reveals to us in His name, the name “Yahweh,” that He always has been and always will be. God (Elohim/Deity) was not created or birthed, but exists. Allow me to reiterate this truth — God (Elohim) has always existed, and will always exist. Truly awesome!

Every name of God revealed to the Hebrews, as you will see throughout this study, was to reveal some portion of Himself and His nature to mankind. And in doing so, our Lord, Yahweh, calls us to be in awe of Him, of Who He is — to worship Him.

If you will recall from our study on worship, known as The Joshua Project, we learned that God has laid out a formula for calling His own into worshiping Him. The formula is simply this: if we will come to know the attributes of God, and also acknowledge those attributes in our lives, then God will produce the actions in us that equal true worship.

(Knowing the attributes of God + acknowledging and applying the attributes of God in us = true worship)

The same becomes true of knowing and understanding the meaning of God’s various other names. God (Elohim) is the Lord, Yahweh — “I AM.” The Self-Existing One. This name of God describes who He is, and discovering who the Almighty is will call us — even move us — to worship Him!

(Knowing God’s names + learning and understanding the meanings of God’s names = true worship)

When God revealed His name to mankind, it was not merely so we could know what to call Him (i.e. give Him a formal title), but it was to reveal to us all something about Himself, His nature, and His attributes and thus call His creation to worship Him, The Self-Existing One.

Once more, everybody — selah!

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Yahweh lyrics by Gloria Gaither and music written by Carman. Copyright © 1983 CBS Inc.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Advertisements

Article VI, part 3


As we complete our look into the twelve ways in which we can begin to develop the discipline of being obedient to God, the Father, in our daily worship, let’s quickly review the first four:

– The reading and studying of Scripture
– Prayer
-The playing and singing of songs
-Family

We continue with the fifth way we can learn obedience to God, and that is through our physical health and rest. By obeying God, growing in His Spirit, and becoming the true worshiper He intends us to be, we can reap physical benefits. Our physical health, for example, is contingent upon our fearing God and following His statutes (Proverbs 3:7-8, 4:20-22). Being rested is also crucial to our health, and no one is more rested than the man or woman who is at peace with the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth (Psalms 16:8-9, 62:1; Matthew 11:28).

Physically working and laboring for God is the sixth way we can learn the discipline of obedience. God did not command us to merely believe in Him, pray to Him, and wait on Him. He commands us to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and reminds us that when we “labor in the Lord” it’s not “in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). In fact, this isn’t just about laboring for God’s kingdom; it’s also about working for our families and ourselves.

King Solomon wrote time and again how an idle man gains nothing but that “all hard work brings a profit” (Proverbs 14:23a), again not just monetarily speaking. Working and laboring for God means we can “share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28b). No matter what we do, we should labor as “working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). If you are a hard worker, then God says you are respectable; and should you happen to be working for another person, which most of us do, then you should respect him or her and honor him or her, as well (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). And know this about your work, “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10). When you work and labor for God, your toiling will be remembered by your heavenly Father.

The seventh means for learning the discipline of obedience to God is through our love and faithfulness. The psalmist tells us that our love for God brings about our faithfulness to Him (Psalm 85:10); and King Solomon taught that we should never let our love for God and faithfulness to God leave us, but we should “write them on the tablet” of our hearts (Proverbs 3:3). The apostle John wrote that if we truly love God we will become obedient to God (John 14:15), and he noted that our love for God and faithfulness to Him brings about encouragement and joy to other believers (3 John 3).

Most importantly, though, our love and faithfulness is a testament that we belong to Christ (John 13:34-35). As Peter R. Scholtes, a former Catholic priest, penned in 1966: “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; they will know we are Christians by our love.”

Sacrifice and trust is our eighth opportunity for learning obedience to God. In fact, in the book of Romans, chapter 12, verse 1, we learn that offering ourselves to God as “living sacrifices” is a “spiritual act of worship.” God desires for us to willingly give of our whole selves to do His good and perfect works. Apostle Paul, the writer of Romans, just one verse later revealed that this sacrifice will allow us to know God’s “good and perfect will” (Romans 12:2b).

Being a “living sacrifice” also means that we can lift up the “sacrifice of praise” and “do good and share with others” (Hebrews 13:15-16). Our very words as well as our works and labors of goodwill can be sweet and pleasing to God. Our trust in the Almighty generally stems from our willingness to offer our lives up to Him; trusting in the fact that God intends good for us and not harm or ill-will. In Psalm 28:6-7 we read, “Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy . . . my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped . . . I will give thanks to Him in song.” And a few chapters later, in Psalm 37:3-4, we see that if we do trust in God and do His good works, He will give us the desires of our hearts, which once again is referring to the spiritual things in life and does not necessarily guarantee us a Ferrari or huge estate in Hawaii. Remember what Christ told His disciples, in John 12:36, regarding trust. Jesus said, “Put your trust in the light [God] while you have it, so that you may become sons of light [God].” If we trust in God, we will become His children and seek after His spiritual attributes.

Our ninth way of learning the discipline of obedience to God stems from our fear and respect of our Creator. Why should we fear God and what does it mean to fear Him, you may ask? Well, King Solomon said in Proverbs 8:13 that “to fear the Lord is to hate evil.” Evil is everything that God isn’t. Evil isn’t love, but is hate. Evil isn’t faithfulness, it is doubt and infidelity. Evil isn’t hope, it is darkness and loneliness. So, if fearing God means we hate evil, then we are saying we fear the loss of godly attributes in our lives. Do you desire blessings, respect, and abundant life? Then present yourself to God in humility and fear life without Him (Proverbs 22:4).

“Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11); here is a verse full of contrasts. We serve God and each other because we want to obey His wishes for us to do so and we fear the idea of not being in His service. We also rejoice at the thought of being in God’s presence, but we tremble at His majesty and power. We praise God because we fear Him (Psalm 22:23a). God allows us into His confidence if we fear Him (Psalm 25:14). If mankind fears and gives the respect rightly due our Creator, then opportunities for true worship will be made known and humanity will benefit from it, for it will teach us not only to honor God but each other (1 Peter 2:17).

Celebration and rejoicing is the tenth opportunity for learning obedience to God. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 5, verse 11, “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy . . . that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” In the forty-seventh Psalm, verse 1, the director of music exclaims, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” The book of Psalms is full of verses where we are encouraged and taught to celebrate the goodness of God and rejoice in Him (Psalms 66:1, 100:1-2). God commanded Joshua, at the battle of Jericho, to shout out to Him at the blowing of the trumpet, resulting in a miraculous victory (Joshua 6:15-21). Our faith in God and obedience to worship Him in this manner will produce many opportunities for us to experience our Maker’s attributes in so many fresh and exciting ways (Romans 5:1-5). So, let us all “rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Being a peacemaker is our eleventh way to learn obedience to God. Christ taught that to be called the “sons of God,” we have to become true peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). But in order to be at peace with our brothers and sisters, we must first be at peace with our Creator.

In Psalm 119, verse 165, we read that “great peace have they who love Your [God’s] law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Obedience to God’s laws doesn’t just mean we are living right. No; it’s so much more than that! It means we are unified, one with, at peace with the living God, Creator of all life. How do human beings attain such peace with God? By faith in Jesus Christ, His Son.

Jesus said, “I have told you [His disciples] these things [truths about Himself and future events] so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33a). God the Father and the Son both teach us of God’s laws and truths so that all of humanity can find peace . . . peace with both God and fellow believers. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:1-2 these famous words:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

We are found justified in God’s eyes because of our faith in His Son, Jesus, and that relationship with Christ gives us the peace we so desperately seek to have with both God and each other. Remember this proverb from King Solomon, “A heart at peace gives life to the body” (Proverbs 14:30a). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); the peace at the heart of King Solomon’s proverb comes only from a true faith in Christ.

Our twelfth, and final, way for learning obedience to God is through our individual and corporate worship of God. We must now take all these things to heart that we have been studying concerning worship and apply them to our daily walk with the Almighty. Whether we are alone or with our families or with others at church, our ability to be faithful in this matter is crucial to our being seen by God as a true worshiper.

Christ taught us of a day when God’s true worshipers would worship Him in “spirit and truth” just as God is spirit (John 4:23-24). We can accomplish this by allowing God’s attributes (faithfulness, hope, and love) to surge through our spirits via our hearts on a daily basis, moment by moment, breath by breath. We can do this by gathering corporately as a family or church body and singing to God and of God, teaching of God, and encouraging each other with God’s Word (1 Corinthians 14:26). This can be done by praying for each other, praying for the lost, praying for our governmental leaders, and praying for our enemies (1 Timothy 2:1-6). We should take the time to testify to and glorify God, faithfully and together as a family or church body as well as individually (Psalms 22:22 and 25).

The writer of Hebrews in chapter 12, verse 28-29, penned these words concerning the importance of worshiping God daily: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

How will you be consumed? Will you be consumed in the spirit and truth that is our Creator; as a true worshiper of God? I hope upon the hope of heaven, Jesus Christ — our ultimate example of obedience and true worship — that you will.

I’ll close with a thought provoking quote from LaMar Boschman (Academic Dean of the International Worship Institute, author, and preacher): “When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.”

When someone writes or states a profound thought like this in Hebrew, we are generally instructed to stop and listen by the use of a simple word, “Selah.” Let’s read through this quote once more and really take in what it’s saying: “When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.”

Selah.

We have laid our foundation, set the cornerstone, and erected four walls on our temple of worship. We have but one thing left to do — raise the roof!

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love lyrics and music written by Peter R. Scholtes. Copyright © 1966 by F.E.L. Publications, Ltd./ASCAP (1925 Pontius Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025).
If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article VI, part 2


Our last post began the construction of our fourth and final wall, as we returned to what is truly at the heart of our worship — God.

We also reviewed the three main attributes of God (faithfulness, hope, and love) and revealed that an obedient heart [spirit] was a very key ingredient to becoming a true worshiper.

Finally, we began to look at twelve ways in which we can begin to develop the discipline of being obedient to God, the Father, in our daily worship. The first being the reading and studying of Scripture. Being obedient to read and study Scripture is essential to our heart’s growth and well-being.

Prayer is the second way we can learn the discipline of obedience. Romans 12:12 admonishes us to be “faithful [consistent] in our prayer.” Philippians 4:6-7 teaches that if we desire peace in our hearts then we should pray to God and petition Him regarding the things that weigh heavily on our spirits. Paul told us to devote ourselves to prayer, in Colossians 4:2-5, and not just for ourselves but for our fellow believers. Why? So that the message of Christ can be proclaimed clearly for all to hear and believe.

Prayer takes us right into God’s presence. It’s how we not only communicate to God our wants, needs and desires, but also it becomes an offering of worship to God (Psalm 141:2; Proverbs 15:8). Being obedient to pray regularly keeps our hearts connected to God Almighty.

Our third way to begin developing obedience to God in our daily worship is in the playing and singing of songs. Remember in Article 5 we mentioned that creation was created to declare God’s glory and mankind is the instrument that God chose to hear His glory declared. Whether we think we can sing or play an instrument, or not, isn’t the point. The point is that God desires our hearts to be filled with His joy and praise, and He also desires for that joy and praise to be voiced back to Him.

One of my favorite TV shows is an old comedy from the 1960s entitled F-Troop, which starred Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Melody Patterson, and Ken Berry. In this sitcom, we get to experience the colorful mishaps of the various men assigned to serve the United States Cavalry at Fort Courage. Leading this group of rag-tag horse soldiers is Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry), and serving his captain as both orderly and company bugler is the no-talent Private First Class Hannibal Shirley Dobbs, played by James Hampton. No matter how hard PFC Dobbs tried, he could never make his bugle sing the various military songs required of it. But somehow, every time, the men managed to know what it was they were being summoned to do, and every time, no matter how horribly the bugler played, Captain Parmenter would always receive the last note with an honest-to-goodness, heart-felt word of encouragement. PFC Dobbs would beam at times, believing he had given his all to a gracious commander. That is what it’s like when God’s people sing or play their praises to the Almighty. Our best is never really all that good, but God loves our music just the same. In fact, God usually requests an encore!

You see, nothing exposes what is in the heart more clearly than music. Music gives voice to our laments and our praises. With one stroke of a chord we can know immediately if the heart is happy or sad. The Bible is filled with examples of this, but one book stands firmly out in front as the official songbook of Scripture. That book — Psalms!

Look through these verses from the book of Psalms for a few examples of how we can bring honor and praise to God through being obedient to the playing and the singing of songs: Psalms 33:3, 59:16-17, 71:22-23, 81:1-2, 95:1-2, and 98:4-6.

Family is the fourth way we can learn the discipline of obedience. Western civilization has long forgotten, it seems, the importance of family and the impact it can have on our future generations. We rarely see fathers, or even grandfathers, mentoring their sons in godly masculinity. We hardly see the tender care and godly teachings of life being presented from mother to daughter. Why? Parents have rejected their responsibilities to teach God’s Word, mentor a godly lifestyle, and discipline their children based on God’s statutes (laws). Parents have given up this right to the local church, area state child-care facility, or local government/private school. How sad. How irresponsible! If we are going to be obedient to God’s call on our lives to be true worshipers of the Almighty, then we (the parents) have to take back the home and begin again to teach our children to love, trust, and fear (respect) God.

Joshua understood this, as did many of the patriarchs of the Bible. Let’s revisit Joshua 24:15, mentioned in Article 3, which says, “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” The psalmist understood this: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:11). King Solomon, possibly the wisest man to have ever lived, said in Proverbs chapter 22, verse 6: “Train [teach/mentor] a child in the way he [or she] should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” The wise king also had this to add, concerning discipline, in verse 15 of that same chapter, “Folly is bound up in the heart [core/spirit] of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away from him [or her].”

This parent/child relationship is taken even further in Ephesians 6:1-4, where the apostle Paul admonished children to obey their parents “in the Lord” (meaning, according to God’s ordained plan and statutes). Paul took it further and stated that if we, as children, “honor” our parents, then God will grace us with a long, well blessed life. Does this mean we will be rich? No! Again, just as we discussed in Article 5, we are more spiritual than physical. God made us in the image of His Spirit, therefore we must think in these terms where blessings are concerned. And we can’t overlook verse 4, which reminds parents (fathers in particular, as we are generally less patient and kind) that we cannot “exasperate” (meaning, bully or infuriate) our children. We must parent and discipline our children according to God’s Word and by applying His attributes; just like I’ve instructed throughout this study regarding our worship.

Lastly, with regard to relationships in the home, there is more than just the parent/child relationship; there is husband and wife. This relationship is without a doubt the most important of all human relationships, as it’s this special devotion between a man and a woman that gives sinful humanity a physical glimpse at the spiritual — a living, breathing picture of the relationship God intended for mankind to have with Him. That’s how special the marital relationship is. This is why marriage vows should be taken so very seriously. We can’t jump in and out of marital relationships any more than we can be wishy-washy with our spiritual devotion to God.

The apostle Paul explained this when he penned Ephesians 5:22-33. In these eleven verses, Paul taught that women should submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” and that men should love their wives “just as Christ loved the church.” This shows us that when women live out the special role of submission (remember Article 4: serving/acting out of love and respect) to their husbands, then mankind can learn how to submit to God. Men, Paul’s words are teaching us that when we love our wives correctly, then humanity can see how much God really does love mankind. Serving and submitting to one another is not a shameful practice — it’s a godly act of worship.

This also applies to the “marriage bed.” In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, Paul wrote:

“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise . . . the wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband . . . Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

Sexual intimacy between a man and a woman, inside the marital vows, is a strengthening, bonding act, and meant to grow the devotion between them as well as protect the relationship from Satan’s attacks. Physical intimacy between the husband and the wife is more than procreating — it’s a weld that binds two weak, vulnerable human spirits into one strong, unbreakable life of godly worship. As the psalmist said in Psalm 128, verses 1-4, regarding a man and his family: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways . . . blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man [family] blessed who fears the Lord.”

Our next post on the subject of returning to the heart of worship will begin with the fifth way we can learn obedience to God, as we continue in the construction of our fourth and final wall on our temple of worship.

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

F-Troop Copyright © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Copyright © 1965 Warner Bros. Television. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article IV, part 2


We have begun looking into how we as believers can experience true joy in our daily worship, even in the midst of serious suffering and strife, but to do this there are some things we must first understand about the word joy. So to understand fully what joy means, and to correctly apply it to our everyday life and worship, we will have to dissect the word; cut into what we said joy is and look around inside it — find what lies at its core. To do this we will literally take the word “joy” and examine it letter by letter. When we are done, the acrostic we end up with will be a simple and applicable tool with which you can allow God to bring real joy to you daily.

The first meaning we can find at the core of real joy is in the letter “J.” And that is true faith in the Lord, God Jehovah via a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. (Jehovah is one of the forms of the Hebrew name for God.) As we studied earlier, all of us are sinners. To be a sinner is to be an arrow that has missed its mark or center, or to put it more clearly, missed the bull’s-eye. All of mankind was intended to exist in the center of God’s will and purpose. Sin, which was introduced into our lives via the “fall of man” in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24), disrobed and removed God’s glory from mankind. Sin left us naked, vulnerable, and dying. There was no way the human race would ever be living in the center of God’s will and purpose ever again without divine intervention. A deep and true faith in God, via a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, is the only way humans can return to living in the center of Jehovah’s will and purpose. Let’s look over how we can have such a faith in God, before we move on.

First, we must recognize that sin has removed us from God’s glory (this is our current “fallen state”) and then realize that we need to be restored to the center and purpose of Jehovah (Isaiah 59:1-20). Remember the five orders of worship (confession, gathering, giving, rejoicing, and studying)? We can’t experience true worship if we can’t exist in God’s presence. Sin prevents us from being in the presence of the Almighty, and confession is the first step toward being in His will; returning us to the center of His will.

We must also realize that we do not deserve Jehovah’s grace, but deserve death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Everything in life costs us something; nothing is free. Some costs we eagerly pay and others we are reluctant to pay, but life is a costly thing. Life costs us, male and female alike, something of each other in order to conceive a new life (child). The creation of the human race cost God, as well. Life cost Him, in the beginning, a piece of Himself — the breath of life and His image or spirit (Genesis 1:26-27). Life also cost Him the loss of our companionship when we sinned in the garden, as sin ushered in death, and death costs us our own lives as payment and prevents us from living with God eternally (again, see Romans 6:23a). But it’s because the Lord God, Jehovah, loved life — human life — so very much, it ultimately cost Him the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ. This truth is another aspect of experiencing a true faith in God. You can’t fully enjoy a relationship with God the Father until you understand fully the relationship we are to have with God the Son.

God longs to see mankind return to Himself and He knew humanity would never be able to do so on its own. Thus the reason God chose to pay our debt to sin (the wages of sin is death) by allowing His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die (John 3:16). Christ’s blood paid our debt (Hebrews 9:22b), and His sacrifice became God’s free gift of eternal life to all of mankind (Romans 6:23b). God never intended to condemn us (John 3:17), sin did that on its own. Jehovah only wanted our love and worship. Remember, death is what we deserved but eternal life can be ours, free of charge, if we will only trust in God, obey His will, and believe in His Son.

To fully trust in Christ we must know that just as life is costly so, too, are our relationships. A relationship with Jesus Christ costs us submission. I know the word submission in today’s equal rights world is yet another negative term, but if we will understand it and accept submission for what it really is, a willful act (choice) of servile flattery (serving/acting out of love and respect) then we will experience the eternal joy that God intended us to have in our lives. We must choose to submit to Christ’s headship over us, serving Christ not because He is our conquering hero but because we love and respect Him for what He chose to do for us on the cross. When believers do this, they become a part of Christ’s body, known as the church (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 1:22, 5:29-30; Colossians 1:18, 2:10). Quickly, let’s take this concept of the church a little further.

The church is not just known as the body of Christ but its also known in Scripture as the bride of Christ (Christ therefore being the loving Bridegroom of heaven). As the bride, we are to submit to following Christ’s perfect will for us (Ephesians 5:23-32) just as wives are intended by God to submit to their husbands. (The picture being painted here is missed by our modern society because today we have allowed both ideas of traditional marriage and spousal submission to become ugly, meaningless, and disposable. Take time to study what is being presented here. Both men and women alike should meditate on what God intended and come to understand true submission.)

Let’s ponder the definition of submission once more from the above paragraph: “a willful act (choice) of servile flattery (serving/acting out of love and respect).” If you are married, try applying this idea to your relationship. If you do, your relationships will improve beyond your wildest dreams; your life will bloom and grow beyond what you ever imagined possible, and your relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son, will fill you with a joy that can only come from being centered on Him.

The second meaning we can find at the core of real joy comes from the letter “O” and is in two parts: be obedient in unity and serve others. The first, being obedient in unity (meaning that we should make every effort to be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ), is the key to understanding the second, which is to serve others. Ken Sande, author, lawyer, and founder of Peacemaker Ministries, says in his book The Peacemaker that peace (or unity) is the “presence of genuine harmony, understanding, and goodwill between people.” Realize, it’s Jesus Christ’s sacrifice (that we just talked about in discussing true faith) which allows for real unity (or peace) with other people. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two [Jew and gentile] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 2:13-18)

We are called to do all we can to live unified, as one (at peace) with each other (Romans 12:18). We cannot be restored to the center of God’s will and purpose if we are not restored to each other, which brings us to the second part of this second meaning of joy.

Serving others is a crucial part to our receiving true joy from God and to our corporate worship. Obeying Jesus Christ’s call to serve mankind over self is a core truth we must grasp if we want to become the true worshipers that God intended us to be. Christ himself came to serve us, so why should we not also serve as He commands (Mark 10:45; Gal. 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10)? Remember our (the bride’s) submission to the Bridegroom of heaven means we both serve Him as well as mimic, or imitate, Him. We can do this when we allow Christ to make His Spirit dominant within us (John 3:30; Ephesians 6:7) and when we follow His model of self sacrifice, which was to lay aside His heavenly throne to become human, live a human life, and die a sinner’s death so that we could be restored to God as holy and righteous (2 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 2:6-8). Faith in Jehovah and submission to Jesus comes first, then obeying Christ by being united as one body (the church) and serving each other (the members of that body) comes second. So, what’s third? You!

The letter “Y” represents being at peace within yourself, and is the last meaning we find at the core of true joy. Ken Sande says in The Peacemaker that internal peace is a “sense of wholeness, contentment, tranquility, order, rest and security.” Sounds to me like a piece of heaven on earth. I can’t recall the last time I truly felt this way for more than a moment, but this type of peace can be ours daily. Real peace comes to us, via the Holy Spirit, from the Lord God, Jehovah, and is a gift that awaits all who are faithful in submitting their whole life to His Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 3:21-24).

Our internal peace is also a by-product of righteousness (Psalm 85:10, 119:165; Isaiah 26:3, 32:17, 48:18). Righteousness and inner peace are ours through our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we do not allow God’s righteousness to grow and dwell in our daily lives, then we will not only live a life of stress and unrest, but we will put the Son’s reputation at risk. How many people do you know that feel negatively toward Jesus or toward going to church or toward Christianity? Is it not because the “righteous” have bragged about how good they are, only to turn around and dishonor God by acting immorally or unethically? Have we not all talked about love, grace, and peace only to turn around and show nothing of these things in our dealings with people and daily dilemmas? Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24b). Christ’s reputation depends on our being genuine in our faith and peacemakers with each other (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; Colossians 3:15-16).

And returning once more to our first meaning of real joy (true faith via submitting to Jesus Christ’s headship over the body) by acknowledging the Son’s headship and submitting to serving Him, we gain peace within our own spirit (Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Hebrews 12:11). Then by following (submitting to; serving and mimicking) Christ’s example to serve others, we remain at peace with our brothers and sisters resulting in our own spirit being at peace with God and ourselves (Ephesians 4:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 12:14).

This is joy! And joy’s core meaning: to allow God’s real joy into our daily lives and daily worship. Did you catch the acrostic from earlier? Here it is once more:

J – True faith in the Lord, God Jehovah and submission to His Son, Jesus Christ.
O – Obedient to be unified as one body (the church) and to serve others (the members of the body).
Y – Be at peace within yourself by being faithful to submit to Christ and serve others.

Remember from Article 3 that the order of rejoicing allows us to both give and receive God’s attribute of perfect joy. J.O.Y. — Jesus, Others, and You are how we can have this eternal attribute in our daily life. This is how we can have joy in suffering. This is the real meaning of joy that no dictionary could define. Only in God’s presence can we receive true joy, and giving of ourselves in submission to Christ’s will and serving others is what ushers us into God’s presence.

This is what Joshua experienced daily in his life as he led his family and the nation of Israel in genuine worship of the Almighty. Joshua was careful to be faithful in all God asked of him, to obey every command given, and to serve his people, the nation of Israel, by keeping them united and at peace with each other (Joshua 24:31). Joshua never had to struggle to lay his head down at night and be at rest because he was at peace in his faith. This same joy, God can give to you. Now, do you really have the “joy, joy, joy, joy” down in your heart? I hope so, and let’s have no more of that asking, “Where?”

We are now ready to raise our third wall in our temple of worship. That wall is — our purpose!

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

The Peacemaker” © 1991, 1997, 2004 by Kenneth Sande

All rights reserved. The brief information quoted from this book appears in this article with the permission granted per the copyright statement which appears in the seventh printed publication, May 2007.

Published by Baker Books a division of Baker Publishing Group, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287; www.bakerbooks.com.

Down In My Heart (I’ve Got the Joy)” by George Willis Cooke, pub.: Unknown, Copyright: Public Domain

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.