Two Thursdays ago had all the right characteristics to be a perfect day in the eyes of Emily Snow. The sky was beautiful and blue. I was so encouraged by the week and the friendships I’ve been blessed with. I didn’t have class (I had to work but that’s not a terrible thing for me). And above all of those things, it was a Thursday. I know it’s probably not the best idea to have a favorite day of the week, but if I had to choose one, it would be Thursday. Thursdays mean Primetime (Badger Cru’s weekly meeting) where I am guaranteed these three things:
1. Hugs on hugs on hugs from all my favorite people.
2. Worship with 300 + other college students.
3. Jesus in the form of men and women wise in His Spirit.
Unexpected stress in the form of a panic attack quickly changed my mindset of looking forward to the day to desperately wishing it would be over. My beautiful friend Taylor saw this mood change and my progressive bitterness toward the day to come. So, she told me something that I know, something that at the time did not necessarily change my mood but helped me to find joy in my situation. She said, “Emily, God is active and working in your life. He made this day.”
As of late I have been realizing that if I take a step back and look at different parts of my life I can clearly see how God is masterfully weaving them together. There are three things I’ve been learning a lot about this semester. Joy, glorifying God in all aspects of life, and the Holy Spirit. I’m going to dive into each of them quick.
In my training group we have talked a lot about the difference between happiness and joy. In our society these two words are often used interchangeably. It wasn’t until this year that I even started to think about the difference between the two. Joy is something that is now an important undertone in my walk with God. It is something that provides an opportunity for growth. My friend Jordan described it as, “realizing there is purpose.”
2. The Holy Spirit.
In discipleship I am learning a ton about the Holy Spirit. I am truly realizing my need for Him. I am seeing His equality in the trinity. I have felt His power to lift my mood and my day. I have seen how he can work in the lives of my friends and the hearts of non-believers. My prayer as of recent has been a direct result of Acts 4:31 which says
“And when they had prayed the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
I need the Holy Spirit. That’s it, I just need Him.
3. God’s glory.
I had a whole post dedicated to what I’ve been learning about God’s glory- so read it if you’re interested. If not, here’s a taste…
In John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life he says:
“…God created us to live for his glory, and that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. We magnify God’s worth the most when he becomes our only boast.”
Now, my realization is this: these three individual things/beings exist to make each of the others possible. We glorify God by pursuing Him and being filled with His Spirit. We are joyful, we have purpose, because of the glory of God. Our purpose is to be filled with His spirit to bring glory to Him. Seem like I’m talking in circles? Yeah, I am. One is not possible without the other.
John Piper, again in Don’t Waste Your Life, says:
“God created me-and you-to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion-namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all spheres of life.”
(in regards to the above quote) “Now life could have ultimate meaning-the same meaning God’s life has: enjoying and displaying His greatness.”
Piper’s argument is based on a sermon by Jonathon Edwards. Our joy is in Christ and Christ is most glorified when this is true of us. Last summer in a sermon reflection from Blackhawk Church I read something that I recently found that truly brings the 3 together. It said,
“The very pulse of our joy, as followers of Christ, is IN Christ-from the Spirit.”
Our purpose, our joy, is in Jesus and comes from His Spirit. We need His Spirit for joy and for Him to be glorified. We need joy, or purpose, to glorify God and to ask for His Spirit to fall on us. God glorified is what brings us joy and is the sole purpose for His Holy Spirit. All three things build and pull on each other to thrive.
In my last post I quoted Romans 8:28 which says:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV-I used a different version in my previous post)
I’ve never had a favorite Bible verse, but literally everything that has happened in the past week, both in my own life and in the lives of the people around me, I have been able to point back to this truth. God is going to work everything in our lives for the good of those who love him and for his purpose-to glorify himself. The Holy Spirit, one in the same with the Father and the Son, is alive and active in my life-and He is in your life too. Every single thing that He allows to happen (whether it be suffering, temptation, excitement, relationships, etc.) He is going to use it for our good and for His purpose (His glory), which is our purpose.
My best friend Zack’s favorite verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16 which says, “be joyful always.” Remember, joyful doesn’t necessarily mean happy-it means realizing there is purpose. Find peace in this purpose-rejoice in the Lord, live in His Spirit, bring Him glory.