07 December, 2008

Sabbath a'Brakel: How to Attain Christian Joy

To that end you should first of all continually exercise faith in Christ, reflect upon the truths pertaining to the atonement and God's way in which He leads man to salvation, and put your trust in Jesus, leaning upon Him. To entrust yourself thus to Him, without seeing Him or apart from any feeling, is the way that leads to joy (1 Pet. 1:8).

Secondly, continue to read and acknowledge the Word to be what it really is: the Word of God. Acknowledge that it addresses itself at that particular moment to you. Search for the promises, deem them to be unbreakable, and when you apply them to your soul as such, you will experience joy. "For thy word hath quickened me" (Psa. 119:50).

Thirdly, pray much, and acquaint yourself with the Lord by praying to Him, communing with Him, making request to Him, and laying before Him all that you lack and desire, especially your desire for joy. "Make me to hear joy and gladness" (Psa. 51:8); "O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days" (Psa. 90:14).

Pursue the promise and lift up your heart to the truth that whatever you will pray for in Christ's Name, He will indeed give you. By being thus engaged in prayer the soul will experience more and more of this joy.

Fourthly, engage much in holy contemplation and meditation. Reflect upon who and what you are, the ways the Lord has led you hitherto, and upon your former mourning, seeking, and tears. Reflect upon the comforts and deliverances which the Lord has frequently given you, upon the benefits of the covenant of grace (each individually), and upon future glory and all that the soul will forever enjoy there. This is suitable to cause the soul quietly to rejoice. "My meditation of Him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD" (Psa. 104:34).

Fifthly, be much on guard against yielding to a sinful routine in your life. Even if there are no great falls, this yielding, this drowsy carelessness, and this departing from God will readily rob us of this joy. Rather, one ought to refrain from unrighteousness, and, upon falling, arise each time again and immediately run to the fountain once more; this will, time and again, quicken joyfulness. May the God of our exceeding joy gladden you! Amen (II: 466-467).

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