The most prominent characteristic of our God is total, endless, irrepressible joy. He expressed that joy in all aspects of Creation, the capstone of which is mankind whom He created in His image, that image of total, endless, irrepressible joy. He placed Adam in Eden, the Garden He had created with that same total, endless, irrepressible joy. Bringing Eve to Adam, I suspect, took that total, endless, irrepressible joy to über-perfection (at least for Adam. I won’t presume to speak for Eve).

Since the fallout from the Fall, mankind’s joy has been greatly marred (perhaps the greatest understatement of all time!) However, what remains permanently intact is the image of God within and herein may be the source of the ills plaguing us today – the perfect image of Creator God, now stifled by marred joy. I find an apt phrase in Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah:’ “it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah.” Subconsciously, all humanity senses it was created for joy, for glory, for fellowship. But consciously, there seems to be no way to access it.

Genesis 2:25, only one verse before the dismaying events in Chapter 3, says this: “In those days the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Knowing nothing of shame. This blissful state is soon to be irrevocably shattered. That is, until Jesus comes to finally make a way where there was no way, providing a perfect cleansing, a full pardon, a renewed invitation – to joy, without the chill and brokenness of shame!

I find the testimony of the Apostle Paul, in all his writings, to be riveting. He has been transformed from the extreme chill and brokenness of legalistic Judaism to the fiery conviction of the power of the Gospel in the person of the resurrected Christ. For him, it’s been a spiritual 180o turn. He repeatedly encourages the churches to pray, to worship, to emulate Jesus Christ, to turn away from their previous lives, to consistently engage in the fellowship of the Christian community around them. “Let every activity of your lives and every word that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you!” Colossians 3:17, TPT.

Jesus dismantled the scaffolding of sin, which is shame, by tearing wide open, once for all time, the way to the forgiving heart of the Father. He provided total, endless, irrepressible joy for us to boldly access the throne room. He provided his Spirit as our guide all along our journey to the heart of the Father. And  all this continues to give him total, endless, irrepressible JOY.  PD

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