Let me ask you a question, and I’d like you to think about it. If you set out on a journey, isn’t it a good idea to know where you’re going? And if that’s true of any other journey, why should embarking on a journey of joy be any different?
I believe this lack of pre-journey planning comes when we don’t read the instruction manual. Now I don’t know about you, but as a general rule, I have a hard time with instructions. They just consume so much time, and I convince myself that I have better things to do. So instead of perusing the manual, I decide to figure things out on my own. Well, you can guess what happens–inevitably, I waste more time than if I would have read the directions in the first place.
The directions we need to read are found in the manual of God’s Word. With it and through it, we can see things from God’s perspective. His Word is like a treasure, or a lamp that illuminates our lives. We need to read and study it, asking God to fill us with His desires, and give us His wisdom and joy. But He doesn’t want this to be a duty, like reading a manual written in badly-translated English. Instead, God wants the reading of His Word to be a revelation of His love.
If we listen to the doctrines of our world, we will be bombarded with the idea of looking for an instant solution to life’s difficulties. You’ve all heard infomercials that declare, “If you buy this new cell phone, your troubles will be over!” So you get a new phone, and for a while you are overjoyed with the way it performs. Or suppose it is a scorcher outside, and you’re dying of thirst. You run inside and grab a cold drink, and you feel great, because your desires have been satisfied.
When something like this happens, all of us are tempted to stay a while in what I call the hotel of happiness. But after a while, both of these temporary solutions fade, and it’s time to get a new upgrade, or another drink of water.
Now we all have desires, and I’m not saying that’s wrong, but when we become driven by them, we become a slave to them. Picture it this way: you are in a place where you feel safe, so you live for your wants and desires–until you realize that your life is empty without Christ, and your happy hotel becomes your gloomy prison.
In contrast to earthly joy, God doesn’t need any upgrades. His Word tells us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God’s desire for you is to soar on the wings of joy by putting Him first in your life. The eternal joy of knowing God personally comes when you know that you are loved by a God who gave His life for you.
Many followers of Christ say that the word JOY is an acronym for the phrase “Jesus, others, and you”. While this is true, and it creates a good guide for the priorities in our lives, I don’t think joy can be wrapped up in such a neat package. True joy does not merely have Jesus at the center. He is the thread that runs through it.
Just look at the book of Hebrews, which states that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. To me, this simply means that He is the beginning and the end, and He holds everything together in the middle.
The Bible says that Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to this. We need to have that perspective if we are to have an overflowing and abundant life down here on Earth.
Jesus is more than enough to quench the thirst in the human heart, because the constant emptiness we feel is really a longing for Him. But let Him explain what He means in His own Words:
“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:14, NLT)
He leaves the decision to you, my friend. Will you accept His joy and stand for Him alone? Or will you allow pleasure to be your God, and stand alone one day, in front of Him?
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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