The Way To Union with Jesus Christ Habakkuk 3:17-19
Ptr. Chul Ki Kim
Koreans like to use the ｅxpression “Even if I die now, I have no regrets” when we acquire something really precious or when we are extremely happy. I want to ask: Is there anyone here who can honestly say that about your life right now? If there are, could you raise your hands? Is there anyone? Am I the only one? I can honestly confess that now.
In today’s scripture passage Habakkuk 3:17-19, the author confesses that although his storehouses are empty and his life had failed, he still rejoices in the Lord; that there is a joy and sense of gratitude in him that makes his feet swift like the deer’s. It like the confession made by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” The Apostle Paul lived in a constant state of gratitude because he knew that his His life was being led by the Lord. He found his complete joy in Christ alone. He was no longer swayed by any of the circumstances that came his way, whether good or bad, and he no longer had desires for anything more in this life. He was just wholly content in Christ.
If you desire to be united to the Lord, have intimacy with Him and enjoy a deeply satisfying life, please pay attention to today’s message. The sermon I am about to share with you is nothing special or new. I am simply compiling many of the sermons you’ve already listened to in the past and organizing it for you in a way that will help you understand the way to unity with Christ. I want to invite you on this path today, the path to intimacy and unity with Him.
Of course I am not the one who will lead you to greater unity and intimacy with the Lord? that’s His job. He will Himself lead and direct you to it. And the destination point of this journey is in Christ. Additionally, it is the Lord who wills that we walk in it. It is a seemingly cruel, inexpressible love that we cannot reject even if we wanted to.
Who is qualified to start out on this path of becoming united with Christ? Those who have been chosen to be saved. He speaks through the Apostle Paul that God’s children have been chosen even before the foundation of the world.
When do we start out on this path of becoming united with Christ? Most of us have already begun the journey. The moment that you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have begun the path to unity with the Lord.
The Bible is the only and complete guidebook that helps us achieve this unity; nothing can be added or taken out from it. The Bible keeps us from getting lost on the way. It commands us to love God more than our very lives, to love our neighbors, to become His disciples and gives us instructions on how we can achieve this. To love God with all our lives and to love our neighbors as ourselves are like two wings; they are also like two wheels that help us stay balanced. There are also two other companions who will help us finally reach our goal of becoming one with Christ on this earth? they are self-denial and the cross. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 that whoever wants to follow Him must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus while hating his own life. The Lord leads us to do this through self-denial and through the cross. Why did the Lord, instead of promising us a glorious and happy life, give us the companions of self-denial and the cross instead? It is because we have all been born into sin, so that ever since we are infants, every thought, every word that comes out of our mouths and our every plan is wicked. Therefore, God has given us these two companions who will faithfully lead us to the Lord until the very end. There is no other way. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:24 tells us that “those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” God calls us to crucify on the cross the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, and the pride of life.
We always judge things that look desirable and good for our flesh, blessings, but things that are not, curses. Who is the judge over these things. We, who have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, are making these judgment calls using our own sinful value system.
This poem was written by one of our contemporaries:
When God cuts away my rough edges because He loves me and wants me to become more like Him, He calls it “love,” but I call it “suffering.
When God leads me on the narrow path to mold in me a bigger and more humble heart, so that I could enter the Kingdom of God, he calls it “grace,” but I call it “testing.”
When Satan comes to tempt me by giving me an abundance of materialistic riches and earthly joys, God calls it a “test,” but we call it a “blessing.”
I frequently misunderstand the plan and purposes of God because I ignorantly use the standards and value system of this world to judge the divine providence of God. I earnestly pray that the Lord will enable me to gain the wisdom and be enlightened in my dullness of heart to see this world through His lens and to know the Father’s will. There will be times when we’re discouraged because of things we cannot understand, but God is not an object of our understanding, but the Subject of our trust. We must never be lazy in seeking to align our perspectives with His. We all suffer from mild amnesia; unless we hear something over and over again, we are prone to forget. When my heart is troubled and is in despair, I wilI lift my eyes to the one who loves me. I love you God!
Dear beloved saints, if we flip our value system upside down and see all our situations in a new light, the Lord’s hand will be clearly visible to us. The things pleasing to us are often tests and the displeasing things, blessings. The pleasurable things of life do not lead us to the Lord. They give us momentary happiness and gratitude, but often push us farther away from God. Is this not true? That’s why the Bible tells us to not follow, but deny ourselves. He tells us to carry our not so welcoming crosses. He calls us, who can’t tell between what is good or bad and who are aimless beings, to come to Him through our self-denial and the cross. To joyfully and daily carry our crosses means that at all times we forget about the past, accept with joy all our present circumstance and entrust all of our tomorrow to the Lord.
God leads us to be completely despair of life. He allows us both big and small trials so that we would forsake the world. Unemployment, business failure, parenting difficulties, health problems and all these things are given to us by God so that we would place our hope solely upon the Lord. In Galatians 6:14, the Apostle Paul tells us that if we don’t forsake the world, that the world will forsake us: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” The person who has already achieved unity with the Lord knows that when the Lord brings undesirable circumstances in their life, that the Lord is showing His ultimate love to that person.
Through self-denial and the cross, we become enlightened of our wickedness and weakness. He leads us to acknowledge that the we are not the masters of our own lives, but that He is. He leads us to repent of our pride in living as though we are in charge. We often complain, resent and push God away when He allows us to go through adversity, accidents, unemployment, parenting issues and the death of loved ones. Then we ask God, “What have I done wrong to deserve this?” Through these self-revealing opportunities, we become aware of how full of wickedness we are, that there exists nothing good in us and that we are the very criminals who crucified Jesus on the cross.
However, human beings are utterly incapable of denying self or carrying the cross of Jesus. When we realize that we are unable to do these things and humbly confess, “God, I have no power or righteousness in myself to obey your command,” then He helps us to deny ourselves and carry our crosses. It’s not easy to deceive others into thinking that we are living a good spiritual life. But, it is harder to actually deny ourselves and carry our crosses. It is arduous. It is impossible. And, so we reject it. Paying tithes, volunteering in the kitchen at church and doing evangelism is easier than denying ourselves and picking up our crosses. It is much more difficult to submit to our husbands, love our wives, kill our pride with our children than to do these religious things. That’s why we are tempted to superficially try to or give the impression that we are someone who we’re not. However, only the self-denial and the cross-carrying that we do in our private lives can lead us to greater intimacy and unity with the Lord.
There are obstacles that stand in our way when we seek to be intimate with the Lord. In the book The Pilgrim’s Progression, the Christian life is portrayed as a narrow path that has many byways. The pilgrim in the story often tries to take the easier and less arduous path, and ends up making a detour back to the right path, but only after suffering many hardships. It illustrates that in our endeavor to be united with Christ, many temptations will try to make us desert the narrow path.
The first of the obstacles or byways is our enslavement to the prosperity gospel. It is our natural disposition and greed to want to use God for our own benefit, by coaxing God through prayer and moral accomplishments to receive blessings from Him. Our hearts desire to have the good things that this world has to offer us. We often think that in order for us to bring glory to God as His children and servants, we must possess the things of this world first. Without exception, all human beings want to enjoy a prosperous and healthy life, raise successful children, live long and be respected. Who would dare say that these desires are wrong. Would not God also want us to live within these blessings? Would He want His children to lead unsuccessful, poor, sickly, divorce-ridden and embarrassing lives? Of course not. That’s why we ask of these things from God along with spiritual things. There are people who pray the Proverb 30:8 prayer: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread,” as if such prayer is Gospel-centered. When you flip the prayer inside out, we can see that it tacitly seeks deliverance from poverty and for a decent position in society. Why do you say such unholy things? My intentions are pure; I am not seeking to use God for my own benefit.” Then would you be content if God were to keep you out of work, bankrupt your business, impoverish you and your family, turn your children into rebellious delinquents, split your family up and denigrate you to a despised crook in society just to transform you into His disciple? Would you still love Him?
When there is no suffering, we feel as though we love the Lord very much. It is as though we are wearing a mask. However, when suffering comes our way, we begin to say to ourselves,
“I am so devoted. I pay my tithes, offerings and serve the church sacrificially. Why did this happen to me? We begin to operate under the give-and-take mentality. We feel indignant. We wonder why God didn’t prevent the calamity from befalling us and if He, in fact, does exist.
In November of 2006, as we prepared to return back to the amazon after our third Sabbath year, Missionary Huh went through her yearly check-up and was found to have stage 2 lung cancer. Although she immediately received surgery, the doctor said that she had a 50% 5-year survival rate. At the time we were almost 100% confident that God will heal her. She sacrificed so much as a missionary to bring the Gospel and save just one soul here in this scorching hot, humid and poisonous insect-infested amazon. She worked harder and loved God more than anyone. “Of course God will listen to our prayers and save her life”. We were so sure of it. What do you think? Am I right or wrong? Isn’t this what “you get what you deserve” and “what goes around, comes around” is all about? “She got surgery for her stage 2 cancer, and God miraculously healed her! And many people came to the Lord because of her!” We, Christians, love to hear testimonies like that. Should not God reward us for our hard work? When we came to the amazon as missionaries, we had no ulterior motives; we simply came in commitment to Him. Or so we thought… God later showed us that we did, in fact, expect reward for our service. In our heart of hearts, we were seeking to gain some kind of worldly blessing for our commitment. Ultimately, God did not answer our prayers as her cancer relapsed again after three years. Can you imagine our shock when that happened?
The greatest love the Lord can show us is the work He does in revealing to us our sins and wickedness and, thereafter, sanctifying us. Do you believe that? Have you ever experienced this? You sought the Lord’s favor in something with firm assurance that He was going to come through, but you were ultimately denied and utterly devastated. Under every charity, love and devotion rendered by man unto God is a motive to receive something in return. If that is the case, then all the sacrifices we offer up to God in the name of love are nothing but the same religious acts practiced in the other religions of the world. The prosperity gospel-centered faith is grounded in self-interest whereby we seek to attain the materialistic blessings of this world by coaxing God through prayer and outward devotion. It is the natural human disposition to seek to gratify our lust for worldly things. We are always taken off the course of intimacy with God to the byways of the prosperity gospel.
The Apostle Paul confessed in Philippians 3:7-9, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” He said that all the things that were benefits to him, he now considered them garbage? or dung. In comparison to gaining Christ, the things of this world are nothing but dung. If we serve both Christ and the world, we can end up forfeiting our intimacy with the Lord.
The second obstacle to intimacy and unity with Christ is legalism. When we first encounter the Lord’s forgiveness and love, we immediately begin to love Him back out of a heart of gratitude. We love in response to God’s love. We also love others because of that love. Then slowly, we begin to burden ourselves as we become self-conscious about loving God more, and eventually turn legalistic. I tell myself, “Yes, I love God.” Legalism results when, instead of relying on the love given through the Holy Spirit, we try to love on our own. Jesus talked about legalism in this way in Matthew 15:8: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Legalism is an empty confession of love towards God, devoid of any real substance. The Gospels attests to this fact through the short-lived devotion of the Pharisees, who at one point confessed their love for Jesus, but later turned on Him by crucifying Him on a cross. In Romans 10:2-3, the Apostle Paul summarizes legalism in this way: “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” He also says in Romans 9:31-32 that: “The people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.”
Legalism is an expert strategy we use to hide our religious ambitions. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees with many harsh words; He called them hypocrites and a brood of vipers. It is believed that during Jesus’s time, the Pharisees were commended as a distinguished group of people within the Jewish society. Let’s consider the Apostle Paul. He was so zealous and devoted to God that before his conversion, the Bible tells us that he dragged Christians, who he thought were opposing God, out from their homes to throw them into prison.
Ever since I first came to the amazon in 1991, I did ministry like it was straight out of the textbook. Many missionaries send out prayer cards or missions support cards that has their bank account numbers written on them. But, ever since God sent me to shepherd a small, forsaken flock in the backwoods of Korea many, many years ago so that I would learn what poverty was like in Galilee and Nazareth, I never once since my 4th year in Bible college asked anyone for financial help, but only sought the Lord’s provision. Being inspired by spiritual giants like Judson Taylor, George Mueller, Watchman Nee and Reuben Archer Torrey III, I told myself that if I were to do God’s work, He will take care of all my financial needs. As a matter of fact, God did exactly that, which was why I was always unashamed and confident in my relationship with others.
On top of that, I wanted to love the Lord more than anyone on this earth. I had a dream to bring the whole amazon black river valley to the Lord. General Gyebaek has always been my favorite figure in history. As a way of offering his life for his nation, Baekje, whose fate hung by a thread, and knowing their imminent defeat, General Gyebaek makes a fateful decision. He frees himself of all the possible worries he would have for his family, which will no doubt distract him in battle, by slaying them before valiantly going into his last battle for his beloved country. I believed that I had to love and be devoted to God more than General Gyebaek was for his country. The region in which I do my ministry is situated right below the equator, a place where scorching heat and extreme humidity is a year-round reality. on top of that, you cannot enjoy rest for more than five minutes from the poisonous insects that constantly bite you. Whenever I saw the blood and pus run down my family’s insect bite-covered frail bodies, I quietly closed my eyes and thought of General Gyebaek. So that I wouldn’t get faint-hearted from watching my family suffer and somehow change my mind and want to go back to Korea, I turned my eyes away from the it, swallowed my tears and imagined General Gyebaek. My only concern was, “How can I save one more soul?” I thought about ministry 24/7. My wife, after receiving surgery for her cancer told me that we should rest from some of the work we were doing. But, instead of doing less, I did more. Who could have possibly pointed their finger at me for doing that? But, in order that I might become a successful missionary, I demanded sacrifice from my family and children. After doing ministry like this in the amazon for 22 years, I finally said my last goodbye to my wife. Now it is too late to undo the past. I can cry my eyes out and beat my chest, but I cannot turn back time. All I can do is weep tears of blood in repentance and humbly return to the Lord
This is a poem written by Poet Yoon Dong Joo: “At the end of my life, I wanted to look up to the sky and not be ashamed of my life. It was painful watching even the leaf blown off its branch by the wind. I told myself I will love everything that is passing whilst singing about the stars, and that I will faithfully walk this path that has been allotted to me. The wind is blowing even on this starry night.” Like this poem, I wanted to be a missionary who has nothing to be ashamed of at the end of my life. I wanted to be like a wild flower in the middle of a deserted mountainside that beautifully blossoms and fades without anyone’s notice, but that exists for the Lord’s pleasure alone. How beautiful is that? Is that not? Shakespeare once said that where the sacred is, there evil is also; and where there is evil, there is goodness. I was ignorant to the selfish ambition that was hiding behind my zeal and devotion to God.
I was not aware of how extremely Pharisaic I was until God exposed my heart to me. All that I had foregone for myself became my grounds for boasting and all my achievements became my pride and glory. only a long time after did I realize that such legalism was a religious pretension that the devil cleverly carried out in my life by baiting me with worldly ambitions.
The more glory, riches and knowledge we acquire and the more satisfied we become with our achievements, the greater our self-righteousness or ego becomes. It is a true blessing when we are debased, poor and scorned by others. The more a person does for God and the more he/she has sacrificed for Him, the bigger their ego will be. only when we confess with humble hearts, “I have not loved the Lord. I have done nothing for the Lord. I am just an unworthy servant,” will our commitments truly become genuine.
I have shared how the greatest obstacle to us in achieving intimacy with God was legalism and a prosperity gospel-centered faith. The reason why these are such insurmountable obstacles is because of the fruit they produce in us, which is self-righteousness. My self-righteousness or ego are fed by all the spiritual, physical and mental things that I have achieved and possess. The person that I have accepted myself to be and the person that others have accepted me as, becomes the person that I think I really am.
Both legalism and the prosperity gospel-centered faith promotes self-righteousness by using my achievements and moral accomplishments to boost my moral goodness. When we see other Christians who have various sin problems we compare ourselves with them. Then we judge ourselves as morally superior and condemn those who don’t quite measure up. This is what constantly feeds our self-righteousness. I want to now explain why being self-righteous is so problematic. When we have any grounds to be self-righteous and to boast in before God, we will surely reject the righteousness that Jesus Christ freely offers us.
Romans 3:21-24 states: “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
No matter how incredibly virtuous and excellent we are as Christians or how many religious accolades and trophies we have gained through our own holiness, if that righteousness doesn’t qualify us to enter into God’s presence, what could be more in vain?
Matthew 9:12-13 tells us that: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” The Lord saves only sinners who are devoid of their own righteousness. Those who don’t confess themselves to be sinners, come before God with their own righteousness; we can safely say that such people do not know the Lord. The Apostle Paul says, in Romans 3:20, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
I began the sermon by telling you that it is the Lord Himself who initiates our journey in uniting us to Himself. In His divinely appointed time, the Lord will begin to take away our righteousness and ego. In Genesis 32:1-2, as Jacob journeys back to his home country, he meets the angels of God along the way. Perceiving that there were many angels present, he calls the name of the place Mahanaim, meaning “two camps.” However, he was neither afraid nor overjoyed by it. His only fear was that of his brother and his army. But, who was it that came to wrestle with Jacob at night? Who was is that disabled Jacob by dislocating his hip? It was the Lord. The one whom we should fear is the Holy Spirit who crushes our self-righteousness and ego in order to bring us closer in intimacy with and ultimately unite with the Lord.
Will you invite the Holy Spirit, who will use whatever means possible to carry out this work of sanctification in you? I believe that for those whom God loves and has chosen to save, they will be completely emptied of self-righteousness and self-ego.
In God’s own time, He will come and do this for us. No matter how eagerly you yearn for or pursue it, only God Himself can free us from our self-righteousness and stubborn ego. He does this work of sanctification in order that we might entirely abide in Him as He abides in us.
How does He do this?
I think it varies from person to person. I have watched very closely how the Lord purged one specific individual of her self-righteousness. It was my wife, Missionary Woon Seok Huh. Despite the fiery love and dedication she showed the Lord in sacrificing her life for the Indian brothers of the Amazon, she was given the gift of cancer in order that she might be emptied of her self-righteousness and be completely united with Him. If you want to hear the sermon of a woman who had become completely united with Christ in spirit, you can watch her sermons on YouTube by searching “허운석 선교사.” Jeanne Guyon, who is a saint from the 15th century, lost her husband and two children, suffered tremendous persecution and was imprisoned many years for interpreting the Scriptures in a non-traditional, non-Catholic way. Through her sufferings, she confessed to have received the blessing of intimacy and unity with the Lord. I experienced my self-righteousness being purged when the Lord rejected my earnest prayer for my wife to be healed.
On Calvary Hill, Jesus Christ agonizingly screamed, “God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When the Lord rejects our prayer and takes away our most valued thing in life it feels like the world is crashing down on us. We even doubt the existence of God in that moment. But, the agonizing pain allows us to see that everything I had trusted in and was assured of found its origin in me and was all for me. Through that experience, we begin to solely trust in God as we lay down our self-righteousness to put on the righteousness of Christ.
Someone put it this way: “When the Lord seems to treat us most cruelly, it is precisely when He is being most merciful to us.” If we can be united with the Lord only after our self-righteousness is completely shattered, will it not be for our benefit that the Holy Spirit does His work in us swiftly and with finality rather than prolonging the process by constantly allowing us to go back and forth between life and death? If for instance we were all destined to be crucified on a cross, is it not better that we are crucified once and then done for than constantly going in and out of consciousness, suffering needlessly as we gasp for air? So it is the mercy of God for Him to allow us to die in short order.
We are emptied of our self-righteousness when through the loss of our most precious possession in life? the one thing or person you would even trade your own life for? makes us feel as though we have been completely forsaken by this world and by God. There is a Korean adage that goes: “Even the cow needs a place of refuge.” But, the Lord purges us of our righteousness by destroying that place of refuge in our lives. The one thing that kept us alive; the one object of our hope; the person whom we trusted and loved the most in life; when that is taken away from us, we are forced to honestly stand face to face with God, as our real inner person is exposed. We find out that God, whom we confessed to love more with all our hearts was not really our everything; our desire was rather for this world, we were hypocrites and our confession of love for God was nothing but a religious ploy to use Him to fulfill our earthly ambitions. In that moment, our self-righteousness gets poured out on the ground like water.
Is anyone in this sanctuary going through excruciating pain? It may be that God is inviting you to greater intimacy and final unity with the Lord through your suffering. I pray and hope that you will be able to offer yourself to Him by confessing, “God may your will be done.” Even if this message is too hard for you to understand, don’t be dismayed, because I was also once oblivious to all of this. But, when the Lord puts you through the process, then you will begin to understand. And, you will rejoice in it. Then perhaps you will want to reach out to me.
For those who have been emptied of self-righteousness, God gives them the gift of a broken spirit. Of course, the Holy Spirit allows this spirit of brokenness and repentance to be in us even before we achieve this unity with the Lord. However, the broken spirit we receive after being emptied is a permanent one. only after can we confess to God, “All my suffering is just, because I am a sinner.”
I just explained that the Lord allows us to have a broken spirit only when our self-righteousness is purged. We can also understand it backwards, namely that the broken spirit purges our self-righteousness.
In many places in the Bible, we hear exhortations to have a broken spirit. All the faithful people of God we see in Scriptures lived with this broken spirit. And, I believe God was able to use them because of it. In the Old Testament times, people always meditated on the sacrifice of animals that were killed on their behalf of their forgiveness. For us, Christ has become that sacrifice through which our forgiveness comes, and so we are to always meditate on Him
When we have a broken spirit, we are able repent because we see ourselves through the eyes of God. We repent of the fact that our love for God was not really genuine, but that it was a deceitful scheme to use God for our own benefit and our ambition in waiting to boast in our own holiness. The Paul Apostles confesses in 1 Timothy 1:15 that, “I am the worst of all sinners.” The fact that I am living and breathing is something to be sorry about. It is not merely that there is no good in me, but that I am evil itself. And God, convicts us to repent of the constant murder that we commit against each other. “Why does the Lord not take away wicked sinner like me from this earth?” Such is the repentance that God causes our lips to confess.
People who repent in this way are free from fear; they are free from being judged by others. Because they are at the bottom of the totem pole, they are free from any competition. Who strives to take the lowliest seat among men? Because they consider others better than themselves, they neither judge nor condemn and rejoice in their lowly position. And, they are thankful that all the people whom they are called to serve are greater and more honorable than they are. Finally, when they hear the story of the Pharisee who praised God for his own moral excellence and the sinner who could not even raise his head because of his sinfulness, they are able to associate themselves with the latter more.
When we allow the Lord to come abide in us as we abide in Him through our spirit of brokenness, it leads us to intimacy and unity with Christ.
So what are some of the fruits a person bears when they become united with Christ?
If in the past their interests were limited to only their own life, family, church and country, now they seek the Kingdom of God first. All their focus centers around God. Nothing of this world attracts their interest. Their life is balanced. They love and serve the people around them. Even when they face hardships, instead of getting stressed out, they rejoice and give thanks. Like deers they tread on high places. They no longer work out of religious obligation, but out of simple obedience to God’s command. Therefore, there is no burden to do well or unrest from low self-esteem. Because they are aware of their own unworthiness, they don’t seek to be exalted by anyone nor do they judge or condemn anyone; they have inner peace. They believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, and therefore, don’t give much thought to enhancing their own life. Those who have been united with Christ are always being led to greater inner peace and freedom. They always maintain a life of joy, as they shun the pleasures, riches and glories of this world. They would never trade the Lord for anything.
Jesus promised that the reason that He came was so that we might have life through Him, and have it more abundantly. He desires to give us the abundant and joyful life whereby we are empowered to love the Lord with our whole heart, love our neighbors as ourselves, deny ourselves by carrying our crosses and be emptied of our righteousness in order that we might become united with the Lord through the righteousness of Christ. In becoming united with Him, we will have the power to confess: “Even if I die today, I will have no regrets.” Regardless of your current circumstances, I hope and pray that you will be able to rejoice and give thanks because of the Lord, as you find your satisfaction in Him alone.