“They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed” (Psalm 34:5).

FOR THE CHRISTIAN, THE MAIN THING IS NOT WHERE WE ARE OR WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND US AT THE MOMENT, BUT WHERE WE ARE GOING. Just as in a sports contest, where what often matters is not the score but which side the momentum is on, the thing that matters for the Christian is that he is making progress in the right direction. Our progress may seem slow and there may be obstacles in our path, but what our hearts and minds are fully set on (or should be) is this: “the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Our faces are turned toward God — and since they are, they grow brighter every day.

Love. It’s hard to imagine how a person could have any significant understanding of God’s love and not love Him back. The Scriptures are replete with stories of the acts of God’s love, but if there were only one story — the story of the cross — surely that would be enough to move us to love God with a grateful love.

Desire. To love God is to desire to be with Him, to be in His actual presence. In this world, no human being has had that joy since Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden. But in Christ, God is offering the hope of being in His presence once again. To desire that perfect joy is to desire the very thing for which we were created.

Expectation. The Christian does not merely wish that he might one day see God’s face; he actually expects to do so. When Paul said, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12), we do not detect a trace of doubt in his conviction.

Now these three things — love, desire, and expectation — combine in the Christian’s heart to produce hope. And, of course, hope is the thing that produces the Christian’s joy. Volumes have been written over the centuries about the joy that is in Christ, but what I want to say about it here is simply this: it can’t be hidden. If you not only desire to see your Father but actually expect to do so, it will show in your face. “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.” There are simply no brighter faces in the world than the faces of those who are turned toward God.

“The joy of the heart colors the face” (Anonymous).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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