The Righteous Life Brings Joy

Sigh. Not a sigh of disappointment. But the sigh of relief and peace. Relief because it's nice to sit down and post. Peace because I feel God's hand upon my life.

I'm not sure if you've noticed my absence from this here blog. I've been posting somewhat regularly, so I haven't actually been "absent". But my days have been so filled with this and that, that my blogging time has been nothing more than ten minutes here and there.

Once the calendar turned to September, someone must have pressed the fast forward button. I promise yesterday was August 30th, yet here it is September 16. How did that happen?

My days have not been filled with anything exciting or unusual. I can't even say that I've added much of anything to my plate. Yes, I homeschool, cook meals, clean house, wash laundry, but I was doing all of those things before September.

So why haven't I had time to blog? I don't know. Maybe I have had the time, but my heart hasn't been in the right place.

My mind has felt cluttered and my heart heavy for a few weeks now. So much so that I have enjoyed very little about my life lately. I'm sad to even say that I haven't enjoyed my own kids in a couple weeks. Please don't judge me. I know I am wrong to be unable to find joy in those sweet lives.

My lack of joy has left me confused until this morning. As I read my devotional this morning, the Holy Spirit convicted me.

In John MacArthur's Drawing Near, the September 16 entry encourages us to put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). When we fail to do so, we lack joy.

Bingo, Ami!
As soon as I read it, I knew in my heart that I have failed to put on the breastplate of righteousness in quite some time. Thus, my joy has been zapped.

What does it mean to put on that breastplate? In my own words, it means choosing to follow God, to obey Him. If He tells me to do this today, I might not do it at all or I might do it with half the effort needed. But the righteous choice would be to obey with a happy heart. And MacArthur's words are encouraging: "If you're pursuing greater righteousness, you'll know greater joy."

I certainly want to know greater joy! I decided this morning that I would take a more active approach to choosing righteousness in my life this day. And I have truly felt more peace and joy in my heart. I'm sure my boys have appreciated the smiles from my face and the calmer voice spoken to them.

MacArthur continues to explain that when I do not put on the breastplate of righteousness, I deny God the glory He deserves. "Without righteousness you will also suffer loss of opportunity to glorify God. When thinking or behaving unrighteously, you violate your reason for existence, which is to glorify God in everything (I Cor. 10:31)." I want my life to bring Him glory, so I must choose the righteous life.

In short:

  • my righteousness = my joy
  • my righteousness = God's glory
You probably didn't need to hear all of that. But maybe you did. I felt compelled to write it. I hope it blesses you. If you're feeling a lack of joy, pray that the Holy Spirit would enable you to choose righteousness.

In case you were wondering, this day has not been perfect. I am still human. But it has been so much better than the past two weeks. I feel renewed. Thank you, Father!

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