It’s the season of Joy!
I have to admit, I spent too many years chasing what I believed was just a bit more … enough to finally experience lasting joy. You see, even though I have believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember, I didn’t believe He was enough.
When I meet someone like Kira Bridges at Joy Pursued, I’m always humbled and yes, even a little ashamed. Kira is so much wiser than I was at her age. She knows that the things of this life will never be the satisfying ingredients for joy.
Her “About Me” page begins…
Have you ever felt like life should be something more than it is? Like you are missing something? Is it joy?
If so, you are in the right place.
Hi, I am Kira, and I am on a journey to discover how to live with joy.
My journey began with the realization that something was missing from my life. Everyday was pretty much the same. I’d wake up, take care of the baby, clean the house, cook dinner, do school/work, then collapse in front of the TV until bedtime. At the end of most days I felt unfulfilled. Life was flying by and I was not enjoying it. I knew life had to be more than this. I knew I was meant for more than this. So I asked God what I should do and he answered:
And I’m excited to share her guest post with you today about yet another specific time in her life when God whispered and she found joy in obedience.
I love it!
So, please make her feel welcome. I know her words will encourage and inspire you!
7 Lessons from the Life of Jesus that will Show You How to be Present
In a group where everyone else knew each other, I stood out. Over the course of two days I repeated myself a lot, explaining who I was and where I came from. But the other women repeated themselves as well, all asking, “how long have you attended our church?” and responding to my answer with, “Wow, you are brave to come to a women’s retreat so soon!”
Each time I smiled and said something about seeing the retreat as a good opportunity to meet people and get connected to the church. What I didn’t tell them is I showed up out of obedience, not bravery.
For the previous few months, the command “be present” continually pressed into my soul. I’d listen to a podcast, read a blog post, or see a status update from a friend, and all broadcasting the same message: “Show up in your actual life. Step away from the computer, get out of your head, and experience life with the people around you.” But most of all, the life of Jesus himself spoke to me as I read through the book of Luke.
7 Important Lessons from the Life of Jesus
*All verses are from the NKJV
1. Sit with others and listen and ask questions (Luke 2:41-50).
As a boy, Jesus took the opportunity of being in Jerusalem to sit with the teachers in the temple. Luke tells us Jesus both listened to the teachers and asked them questions. When Mary and Joseph ask what he is doing, Jesus responds, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).
God desires us to learn about Him from others. He expects us to sit down, listen, and ask questions. God also desires us to teach others. Speaking of Jesus at the temple, Luke records, “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:47).
Sitting with others encourages the sharing of wisdom so that all may grow in their knowledge and understanding of God.
2. Look for ways to help others.
Glancing through the headings in Luke, some variation of “Jesus heals” appears over and over again. He heals the sick, casts out evil spirits, restores life, and feeds the hungry. All these miracles required Jesus to be among the people, to recognize a need, and allow his compassion to move him into action.
We live in community for this very reason. Only when we do life together, can we help meet each other’s needs and bear each other’s burdens.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
3. Make the first move (Luke 5:1-11).
Jesus sought out His disciples. In the calling of the four fishermen, Luke recounts Jesus going to the fishermen and climbing into their boat where He taught, and caught fish. Only after Jesus met the fishermen in their everyday lives, did they forsake all to follow Him.
While we are not trying to get other people to forsake their life and follow us, we do need to take a cue from Jesus and make the first move. Be the one who invites an acquaintance to coffee. Be the person who introduces yourself to the newcomer at church. Ask the family with a toddler to come over for dinner and show no sign of distress when the toddler runs around instead of sitting at the table.
Many times people are desperate for community, and they just need someone to reach out and say, I see you.
Jesus tells his disciples; “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” (Luke 6:27) and “Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Mercy means giving someone what they do not deserve, such as forgiveness and kindness after they wronged you.
Being present with the people in our life carries the inherent risk of being hurt. But it also gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the power of the gospel. When someone sins against us, we should respond with forgiveness and mercy because that is how our Father in Heaven responds when we sin against Him.
5. Seek out individuals who need Jesus.
When Jesus passed through Jericho, He chose to eat with Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector. Luke says when people saw Jesus going to Zacchaeus house they complained, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is sinner” (Luke 19:7). They didn’t understand sinners are the whole reason Jesus came to earth.
In John 20:21 Jesus says, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and then passed along that work to us. We must walk with open eyes and open hearts in order to see the “Zacchaeuses” God places in our life.
6. Share meals together.
At the end of Jesus’ life, He gathered with His disciples for the Passover meal and proclaimed; “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Fervent desire, those words reveal the heart of Jesus. He valued gathering together and spending important and difficult moments of life in community.
Special moments happen around tables, and part of opening our lives to those around us means inviting them to our table.
7. Spread hope.
We cannot look at the life of Jesus without seeing hope. Jesus offers hope through the forgiveness of sins, through healing, through the ability to ask and receive, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, the hope of Christ lives within us. Therefore, we are messengers of hope, just like Jesus. Through encouragement and sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness, we can spread the hope of Christ to others.
I will be the first to admit I don’t always want to do these things. Some days (okay most days) I’d rather stay home with a cup of tea and a good book. But as I’ve obediently shown up in my life, God has blessed me, and I know he wants to do the same for you.
So let me ask you, how can you be present in your life today?
Kira Bridges is pursuing joy by seeking the life God intended. She writes at Joy Pursued, sharing lessons learned and resources to help women draw close to God and experience His joy. Living in Oregon with her husband, daughter, and two dogs; Kira believes living with joy is a lifelong journey and would love for you to join her. You can hang out with her on Facebook, and Instagram.
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