A few tidbits (okay maybe MORSELS is more accurate, these are kind of long) I thought I'd share from reading I've been doing lately.
First is an excerpt from an excellent book that my friend Tori let me borrow called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson.
Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence, It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience life in Christ; it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience.
We come to God (and to the revelation of God's ways) because none of us have it within ourselves, except momentarily, to be joyous. Joy is a product of abundance; it is the overflow of vitality. It is life working together harmoniously. It is exuberance, Inadequate sinners as we are, non of use can manage that for very long.
We try to get it through entertainment. We pay someone to make jokes, tell stories, perform dramatic actions, sing songs. We buy the vitality of another's imagination to divert and enliven our own poor lives. The enormous entertainment industry in America is a sign of the depletion of joy in our culture. Society is a bored, gluttonous king employing a court jester to divert it after an overindulgent meal. But that kind of joy never penetrates our lives, never changes our basic constitution. The effects are extremely temporary--a few minutes , a few hours, a few days at most. When we run out of money, the joy trickles away. We cannot make ourselves joyful. Joy cannot me commanded, purchased or arranged.
But there is something we can do. We can decide to live in response the to abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs. We can decide to live in the environment of a living God and not our own dying selves. We can decide to center ourselves in the God who generously gives and not in our won egos which greedily grab. One of the certain consequences of such a life is joy, the kind expressed in Psalm 126.
Second is an excerpt from a book called Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung recommended by my friend Luca:
The only chains God wants us to wear are the chains of righteousness—not the chains of hopeless subjectivism, not the shackles of risk-free living, not the fetters of horoscope decision making—just the chains befitting a bond servant of Christ Jesus. Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God’s glory. God’s will for your life is not very complicated. Obviously, living a Christlike life is hard work, and what following Jesus entails is not clear in every situation. But as an overarching principle, the will of God for your life is pretty straightforward: Be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.
What have you been reading? Any specific excerpts that have been encouraging you or whole book suggestions?