We are in the month of Elul, fast approaching the time when Yom Teruah will be upon us.  Every year, this month really affects me with a strong desire to move deeper into the Lord in the coming year.  We are called to fast, to repent, and to make things right with our brothers and sisters.  I desire more fruitfulness in my life, and now is a good time to reflect on the previous year and see clearly those areas that have shown more fruitfulness, and the areas that need some serious pruning so that they can be fruitful in the year to come.  I tend not to see the fruit as much as those around me can see it, and perhaps this is because I’m my own worst critic.  I tend to see weaknesses and nothing else.  This year, though, I want to move further away from my own understanding of what my spiritual state is.  I really desire for Abba to search deep, to pry open areas of my heart that I’ve not allowed Him to deal with – whatever they are, I want more and more freedom as I grow in Him.  I want to be honest with myself and for Holy Spirit to be candid with me.  I don’t want only to see my own perspective of my heart, nor do I want to compare myself to others.  I want the pure, unbiased, unadulterated truth from my Maker.  Lord, what do YOU see that needs to change?  What areas do You love in me?  How can I be even more surrendered to You in this coming year?  What things still hold me back from You?  Don’t let me hold back in this season of seeking out soul surgery – if something is coming between You and me, I want it cut out.

I’m really enjoying this new (to us) band that we recently discovered called Pas Neos.  From their album titled “Who Do You Say I Am” I found a song that has touched my soul deeply.  It’s called “For the Joy Set Before Me” and it describes the final evening Yeshua was on this earth before the crucifixion.  The song is written from His perspective, as though He is fully experiencing every moment of His last night here with every fiber of His humanness – yet even the music and notes somehow convey a complete knowledge and understanding of the Divine as He prepares His heart for what He would endure.  For the joy set before Him.  Never before have I heard a song that has made me see Yeshua’s utter humanness juxtaposed against His divinity in the way this one does.  Somehow, I’ve never considered what it must have been like for Him as fully man to feel His life cut short in such a brutal way, having absolute trust in His heavenly Father that He would rise to life again and be given the right to be crowned as the King of Kings.  Knowing He was entering this path completely alone, by choice, knowing His Father would turn His face from Him.  Trust like that of Father Abraham, who had to have blind faith that God would be true to His Word that this seed of his would be the father of multitudes of nations.  As he raised the knife to slay his son, blindly praying, hoping, believing that God would come through, that He would provide for Himself a Lamb.  This song fits more perfectly with Pesach, obviously, since the seder was the last “event” Yeshua had with His disciples.  Yet I could not get the theme of the joy set before Him out of my heart during this festival season, and I sensed that Holy Spirit wanted me to meditate on it during this month of Elul.  As I go over and over the words in my heart, I’ve seen in my heart’s eye the beaming smile of Yeshua as He laughs with joy looking to the future wedding feast He will have with His bride.  I’ve felt Holy Spirit fill my own heart with the anticipation He must have felt on that long, dark night before He becoming our Pesach Lamb, when those hopes were what got Him through the agony.  I am why He did it.  I am the love of His life.  Those flashes of hope and anticipation have swept me up during these same weeks that I’ve been inspecting my own wedding garments, ensuring that I’m not allowing them to be wrinkled and stained by sin.  So this Elul and the feast days leading up to Yom Kippur and the subsequent season of our joy in Tabernacles, I’m not focused just on what I need to do to get closer to the Lord, but what He has in store for me, for His bride.  It ceases to be about me and becomes more about Him and His own fullness of joy.  Can you see Him smiling?  Can you see Him rubbing His hands together in expectancy, barely able to contain Himself as He prepares for the day when we will all be one, together forever?  I am convicted that I do not hold on to that joy the way I should.  I don’t think enough about my heavenly Bridegroom.  Yet I’ve been seeing in my heart His childlike giddiness over His bride.  He can’t WAIT to be with us.  He loves the festivals of His Papa.  They are a foretaste of things to come, and just as a bride and groom before their wedding day feel that no amount of time spent together is enough until they are truly united, so Yeshua feels towards me.  Towards you.  I need to be completely dunked in His joy for me, mind, soul, and body.  I want to be swept into the passion He has for His bride, and feel that same passion for Him and time spent with Him.  Everything else is just periphery.  Truly, I need an anointing of JOY in this season.  For the joy set before Him, I will endure this time of soberness and repenting and prostrating my heart.  Because of JOY I will consider just how high a price He pays for sin to be in the Holy of Holies, cleansed away on the Day of Atonement.  Because of JOY I will cast off the flesh and make my heart right with those around me whom I’ve not forgiven.  For me in this season, the Love of my heart is calling me away with Him to experience a courtship that I’ve only glimpsed in the smallest estimation up until now.  And for His joy, and mine, I will go.