The Joy of Living

Posted on 02/08/2015 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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JEHOVAH JIREH

Jehovah Jireh, my provider
His grace is sufficient for me
(repeat)

My God shall supply all my needs
according to His riches in glory
He gives his angels charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me,
Jehovah Jireh cares for me


SING A NEW SONG

Sing unto Lord a new song
sing unto the Lord all the earth
(repeat)

For God is great,
and greatly to be praised!
(repeat)


HOLY AND ANOINTED ONE

Jesus, Jesus
Holy and Anointed One

Jesus, Jesus
Risen and Exalted One

Your name is like honey
on my lips
Your Spirit like water
to my soul
Your Word is a lamp
unto my feet
Jesus I love you
I love you


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Today, I'd like for us to talk about
The Joy of Living.

And let's start by reading
from the book of Romans,
chapter 14, verses 17 and 18.

Romans 14:17-18 (KMV)

17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18 For the one who serves Christ in these things is well pleasing to God, and approved by others.

Last week we talked about
what the Kingdom of God is,
WHERE it is, and
WHEN it is, and
what it means to enter it.

Well in verse 17,
we see a word summary
of what the Kingdom is,
and then in verse 18,
we see something
worth exploring further.

"For the one who serves Christ in these things is well pleasing to God, and approved by others."

The one who serves Christ
in WHAT things?

Righteousness,
Peace, and
Joy.

We can explain the first one
easily enough, or at least
we can THINK we do...

Righteousness -- we simply
obey the Bible, right?

Well, Jesus did say
that if we love Him,
we'll obey Him.

But is that our righteousness?

1 Corinthians 1:30 says that
Jesus is our righteousness.

We either walk in Him,
or we don't.

We either live in the spirit,
or we walk after the flesh.

And that is a state of being
that RESULTS in outer actions.

We tend to think that
if we do righteous deeds,
we will be righteous.

But that's backwards.

The truth is that
if we BE righteous,
we will do righteous deeds.

And the verse we just read
says that we serve Christ
in these things.

So we dwell in the state
of being called "righteousness,"
and in dwelling there,
we are serving Christ.

And by dwelling there,
we are well pleasing to God,
and approved by others.

And we'll talk about that second part
in just a few minutes.


Righteousness.

The state of rightness.

Not of "being right"
in the ego's sense
of the term,
"I'm right and you're wrong,"

but in the spirit's sense
of the term,
"It is right and splendid
to be here now."

THAT is "rightness."

"Wrongness" would be
to get lost in unfruitful fantasies.

Like the fantasies of the
imaginary time called the future:

"What if we get evicted?"

"What if the doctor says it's cancer?"

"What if I'M the next one laid off?"

"What if he or she leaves me?"

"What if so-and-so is elected?"

Or the fantasies of
some other place:

"Terrorists are over there plotting against us!"

"A super bug is on its way here!"

"Christians are persecuted in such-and-such a place,
and that persecution is coming here next!"

"A financial depression is sweeping the earth,
and we're next!"

Those are just a few
unfruitful fantasies, or
"not rightness."

I say "fruitless" as in,
"no GOOD fruit."
They actually DO produce fruit.

It's called stress.
Depression.
Anxiety.
Fear.
Dread.

And the sicknesses
those things cause.

If you are
carefully watching,
you will feel
the emotional sickness
that is caused
even before
the mind's
unrighteous words
go through the head.

It really is dreadful
what we do to ourselves
when we are not dwelling
in rightness.

But when that happens,
knowing it's happening
is all that is needed.

It's not YOU, it's the mind.
You're lost in it again.
And that's okay.

Because in recognizing it,
and accepting what is,
you wake up from it.

If you make a problem out of it,
then you remain trapped in it.

It's just mind stuff.
It has no tangible reality.
To feel as though it does,
is to fall back into its delusion.

"But tomorrow, my car might be reposessed."

You're not dwelling in rightness.

"See, I'm lost in a mental fantasy again,
this is just horrible. I'm failing again.
I'll never get this right. It's too hard."

You're STILL not dwelling in rightness.

How about a wordless recognition
that the bringer of fear is the mind,
and the negative feelings in your body
are coming from the mind's noise.
Not good or bad,
not friend or enemy,
just present-moment reality.
And it's okay.
Oh, the mind just judged its self.
That's okay too.

And you stay in peace.

You see, this verse is worded beautifully.
It's a progression.

If you are dwelling in rightness,
you will also dwell in peace.

If you are not dwelling in peace,
you are not dwelling in rightness.

And just realizing that,
and recognizing
it's the MIND,
and not YOU,
is enough.

After all,
are not YOU
seated with CHRIST
in HEAVENLY places
RIGHT NOW?

Everything else
is passing away.

Everything else
is not who you are.

Everything else
is just a temporary form.

And you dwell in righteousness.
Where Christ is.
In the Heavenly realm.
Right here.
Right now.
And all is well.



This place of righteousness,
of rightness,
is a place of
deepest peace.

"For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy."

Jen, Mariposa, has pointed out that
the words "Fear Not" are found
365 times through the Scriptures.
That's once for every day of the year.

Which doesn't cover leap years,
but it's a nice thought.
And we don't have 365 days
any more than we have a year.
We have only today.
And today, God says,
"Do not be afraid."

Or, He could also say,
"Be at peace."
"Walk with me."
"Dwell in rightness."
"And thus dwell in peace."

Not tomorrow.

Not for a short time
next Sunday at church.

Not after the bills are paid.

Not after I hear the doctor's report.

Not after I hear the judge's verdict.

Peace does not exist in the future,
because the future is only an idea.

You see, peace is not mental.
Peace AFFECTS the mind,
but the overactive mind
veils your ability to
experience peace.

The mind lives in the future,
and in the past.

And it devalues the present,
always thinking the past was better,
and the future WILL be better.

It sees the present moment
as an obstacle, or
as a means to an end.

But the present moment
is the only place where Life is.
So what the mind devalues
is true Life itself.

That's not rightness.
And that's why it
takes you out of peace.

We are so busy
trying to get away
from Life.

The mind says
that it's trying
to get to Life,
and the Now
is part of the problem.

But the Now
is the only place
Life is.


This reminds me of
Mary and Martha.

Let's read this together.

Luke 10:38-42 (NASB)

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His words.
40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."
41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."


So Martha was busy.
Is that bad?
Don't we have things
that we have to get done?

In this case, Jesus said,
"Only one thing is necessary."

For what was Martha preparing?
We don't know.
It doesn't say.
So it's not important.

Martha was fighting against
the present moment.

Against what was.

Against Life.

But only one thing was necessary.

What was that one thing?

Life.

Mary was in The Joy of Living.

Martha was not.

Martha could have
kept working,
if she needed to do so,
without being
"bothered about so many things."

Did you know,
that you can sit
at the feet of the Master
while you're at work?

While you're cooking?

While you're cleaning?

While you're washing dishes?

While you're driving through traffic?

While you're waiting in line?

While you're digging ditches?

While you're cleaning toilets?

While you're changing a tire
in the pouring rain?

While you're mowing the lawn?

While you're paying your bills?

While you're asking for
more time to pay?

While you're getting evicted?

While you're sitting in court?

While you're in the hospital?


Only one thing is necessary.

Just One Thing.

And that One Thing is Life.


"In Him we live,
and move,
and have our being."


Do what you have to do.
But don't play the mind's game
of fighting against doing it,
of fighting against what is,
of trying to escape the present moment,
of looking to the future for
fulfillment, or
peace, or
happiness, or
rest.

Observe the mind's insanity.
And let that insanity go.
No need to hold on to it,
or to hold on to changing it.

Instead, sit at Jesus' feet.
Dwell in the eternal place
of perfect peace,
which is full here,
and fully now.

Do what you need to do.
And do each motion
for the motion itself,
not as an attempted escape
from what isn't done
or the time it isn't right now.


Also notice here, that
we not only don't know
for what Martha was preparing,
but we also don't know
what Jesus was saying to Mary.

And just as we don't know the one
because it's not important for us to know,
so we don't know the other
because that wasn't the point.

The point wasn't the words
Jesus was speaking.

The mind objects to that statement.
To the mind, words are vital.
People's minds argue with eachother
about words all the time.

Whatever Jesus was saying to Mary,
it had great value.
But the human words
were not the point.

"Only one thing is necessary."

Martha was running around,
stressed out by the mind,
believing the mind's rantings
that getting to the future
and fixing the problem
that the present moment is,
was of the utmost importance.

"Lord, don't You care?
My sister has left ME
to do ALL the work!
It's just not right!
This is horrible!
Validate my drama, Jesus!
I'm being wronged!
Stroke my ego, Lord!"

"Martha, Martha,
worried and bothered,
lost in the mind's drama,
unaware of the Life
that is Here and Now.

Only This One Thing
is necessary."


13 Enter in at the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad, that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter it;
14 But the gate is guarded by obstacles, and the way is narrow and blocked by troubles, which leads to Life, and there are few who find it.

(Matthew 7:13-14, TLS)


So dwell in Righteousness,
in rightness,
in reality,
in Life;
and you will dwell in Peace.

And out of the Peace,
arises true, everlasting Joy.

11 You have shown me the Path of Life: In Your Presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand is perpetual splendor and delight.
(Psalm 16:11, TLS)

"At Your right hand."
That is a place of honor.
Sounds like Romans 14:18, doesn't it?

"For the one who serves Christ,
in Righteousness, Peace, and Joy,
is Well Pleasing to God."

"In Your Presence is fullness of joy, and
at Your Right Hand is perpetual splendor and delight."

His Presence is that place
of Righteousness -- of rightness.

That place is pure,
unbroken Peace.

In that place of Presence,
in that place of perfect Peace,
is fullness of Joy.

And by dwelling in
Righteousness,
Peace, and
Joy,
we are well pleasing to God.
We are at His right hand.
And at His right hand
is perpetual splendor and delight.

This is The Joy of Living.

Joy that bubbles up
when the sunlight shines
through the window;

when the rain clouds
thunder with flashes of lightning;

when the bitingly cold air
sparkles with frozen drizzle;

when the fields and roads are covered
with a blanket of diamond-laced snow;

when the wind breaks the branches;

when the stillness can be felt;

when the heat of the sun
is met with your beads of sweat;

when the stories of gain and loss
are written and pass into forgetfullness;

when the form of your physical flesh
changes, grows old, and returns to dust.

Through happiness and sorrow,
through pleasure and pain,
under all these changing seasons,
The One Thing remains the same.

It is the Presence in the Present
with the One whose Word
manifests in all the
passing forms we see;
the effect changes,
but the Cause remains the same.

It is the Peace that comes with
fully embracing the "isness"
of what is right now,
for right now,
it can be no other way,
and right now,
is the only place there is Life.

It is the Joy that springs forth
from the fertile soil of Peace;
the Joy of Living,
the Joy in all things.

And as we dwell in
Righteousness,
Peace, and
Joy,
we dwell in the Spirit of God,
well pleasing to God,
in the place of Honor with God.

And our Joy will be made full.