This is actually still churning within me as a result of my study on vacation.
There is so much - where to begin...
Growing up in the church, so many of the 'believers' I knew seemed sad - as if being a follower of Christ meant they had to be constantly serious and on task to obey every rule known to mankind. They said they believed in eternal security and yet lived an outwardly terrified life as if their salvation might at anytime be revoked. It didn't make sense to me as a kid.
What I'm beginning to discover is that what Christ desires for us, what we were created to be and what attracts the lost more than perhaps any other single thing - is when they see our Joy in Christ.
The old song "What the World needs now is love sweet love" really translates into a universal desire to be loved and cherished and what the worldly love never finds is lasting satisfaction which we know is found only through relationship with the creator of love. And only through that relationship do we find true joy. For when we have hope in Christ - we're sure in our eternal destination there is truly no room for paralyzing fear. or loneliness. The world cannot make us sad unless our focus turns toward the world and the temporary stuff it offers us instead of keeping our eyes eternally focused.
Delight yourself in the Lord
I'm sure this has no circumstantial boundary - no limitation of any kind that would justify a believer to ever be less than delighted with the Lord.
The Bible talks about how Paul was sorrowful yet always rejoicing and we know of many missionaries who have given all yet felt they never made a sacrifice. How can this be? Can this type of focused delight even happen in America where we all have too much?
John Piper's book - Desiring God has strengthened my resolve to find out how to live this way.
I have made the statement - "He or she steals my joy", about people I was struggling with. I have to wonder if that deeply hurt my Savior! It is a choice to allow my joy in Him to be stolen, no one can take it. It is only when my relationship with Christ is as it should be that I can experience any lasting joy.
Piper says God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him...
Is it possible as an American to be satisfied - ever? I've said it before and I still believe it may be true - perhaps America is the most deceived of all nations? The nations where people are persecuted for their faith - there is no doubt who truly loves and knows Him and who does not. Here - it's become kind of gray...if asked most people would probably still say they believe there is a God, but sadly their life, their lack of joy and constant striving for more says otherwise.
I'm beginning to believe that everything God created me to be, to accomplish, to strive for is contained in - Delighting In Him - so much so that everyone can see Him and not just all the stuff I accomplish.
Are you joyful? Does the world wonder what you have that they don't? Is there a peace deep within you that leaks out when everyone else seems to live in a state of stress and panic and deep dissatisfaction?
Let's all take a step toward an eternal Delight that no man, no event, no trial can ever extinguish! Let's be filled with joy found only in our Savior!