THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21 - Hope, love, and joy.

1 Peter 1:8–9 (ESV) (8) Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (9) obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Let’s be honest with one another for a moment. Do you love Jesus? I know we are quick to claim we love Jesus but what Peter is asking is that we pause and consider why we love Jesus. What he is saying is that our belief that Jesus loves us so much that He would die for us compels us to love Him. You see, God’s offer of salvation is proof that He loves us, and our acceptance of that salvation is proof we love Him back. We cannot truly love apart from redemption. It takes Jesus saving us to introduce us to what love truly is and how love truly is expressed.

Ok, let’s ask another question. Do you rejoice with unspeakable joy? Let me ask that a little differently. Are you so exceedingly glad to know and love Jesus that you are filled with joy that words cannot express? Does joy burn so hotly in your heart that no amount of cold water (think difficult people, a flat tire, a sick child, etc.) can snuff out that flame?

Hope. Love. Joy.

Perhaps you noticed as we went through this passage that hope, love, and joy are intertwined. We rejoice today because there is a future inheritance awaiting us. We rejoice that hardship refines and deepens our faith. We rejoice in our present and future salvation. We rejoice that Jesus will return. And we love Jesus for making it all possible.

And it all began one morning in a stable. Imagine what the remainder of your day will be like if you walk in hope, love, and joy.