Life is better when we enjoy it. That’s a statement that really isn’t worth making because everyone already knows it’s true. Its an axiom, its self evident, it’s a “no brainer”, but it’s a great place to start when we ask the question; What is life about? Many answer that question by saying joy in things like love, success, money, popularity, friendships, and the list could go on and on depending on who was answering the question. However, any answer given would be given because it is what gives that person a temporal feeling of joy in life. Now Christianity is not a joyless faith. For we know the meaning of life is God's glory. God does all things for His glory (Isaiah 42:8). But...Christianity is all about us finding endless joy in the God whose glory shines the brightest in the Lord Jesus Christ.
No, no matter where you are at, you and I either have joy or we are in pursuit of it. This is where it gets interesting because we begin to think about where our joy comes from or from what brings us joy. The reality of all of this is that most people are in pursuit of joy their entire lives and never are joyously satisfied. The reason I can make that statement confidently is because the bible says that only a few will enter from this life into eternal life by way of the narrow gate. I’m not changing topics here rather trying to illuminate the fact that joy in this life is no joy at all if it doesn’t lead to eternal life and eternal joy. If everything we pursue in this life and everything that brings us (temporary) joy in this life leads us to eternal torment, then we will for all eternity look back and understand the gravity and sadness of missing the point of life. Jesus is the only true source of joy because Jesus is the only eternal source of joy. Every other source of joy will be eaten be mouths or eaten by rust or burned by fire. If your joy is in money you will always be in pursuit of more and when its gone so your joy will be also. If its in fame and popularity, you will be defamed and unpopular when you stand before God and will be rejected having glorified yourself and not God with your life. If your joy is in your hobbies it will come and go based on your schedule and the weather. If your joy is in your family it will be dependent on a temporary source as all people will pass and the memories will fade. However, if your joy is in Jesus, there is no temporary circumstance or force that can steal it. A person who is resting in the joy of Christ will be freed from the bondage of pursuing joy in the trappings of this fallen world.
Jesus gives us a perfect picture of what finding joy is about and what it produces in Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” I realize this is a parable and Jesus isn’t speaking of a particular man but the parable can be applied to every man. This man is just walking along like any other day (probably pursuing something that will bring him joy on that day), when he stumbles across the ultimate treasure. The treasure is Christ and the spoils of the riches is joy. This man now has a completely different mentality about life after finding this treasure. Notice what he did next, he sold all that he had and he did it with JOY! The point to take away from that is not necessarily buying a bunch of for sale signs and calling the realtor, rather it’s about having a change of mind about the world and worldly things like this man had. This change of mind is repentance. The very word in the original language “metanoia” means to change ones mind. It’s a profound reality that the pursuit of joy apart from God puts us in bondage until we find our hearts filled and satisfied in knowing God the Son. Submission to the Son of God brings us to the place where we find abundant joy no matter the external circumstances we face in this world. As one theologian puts it God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. To be in joyful submission to the Son of God is blessed indeed.
God Bless, Pastor Dusty