The Key to Joy

1 Jul

Yesterday I acknowledged in a post that I do not always have a sense of the joy I should have at such a great salvation as that which I’ve received in Christ. I confessed several reasons for that and promised that I would write further about joy in a later post.

How do we live a life of sustained joy and the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit God describes in Galatians 5? I believe the key is to realize that joy must be found in Jesus and not in myself or my circumstances. All other joys, all other sources of hope, all other things I value will ultimately wither and fade. Every other thing I look to, including myself, is a house built on sand. So God must show me how eternal and precious and valuable Jesus is, or I will constantly be trying to find life elsewhere and coming up short.

That said, is there anything for me to do in this, or do I just wait for God to open my eyes? The Bible answers strongly that yes, we do have a calling on our lives. It is not to try harder or be better. The calling is not even primarily to ministry to others. The calling God has given us is to look to Jesus. We are called to behold His beauty, to see His glory. We are called to delight our hearts in Him. We are called to seek and draw near and hold fast and encourage one another in this journey. We are called to renew our minds in view of God’s mercy to us in Christ. When God opens our eyes to Jesus’ saving work and we trust Him, we are justified, made right in God’s sight on the basis of what Jesus has done. But the life begun by faith is also continued in faith. We keep living that life of looking to Jesus and we find as a by-product the fruit of His Spirit growing in our lives. Now to be sure, God uses other things to shape us and grow us as well. Circumstance, other people, the Church and many other things are tools in God’s hands He uses to move us forward with Him. But if I had to put forward the one key to a life of joy and holiness, it would be this: Understand that Jesus is the fountain of living waters and keep coming to Him to drink every day of your life. Give up on all the broken cisterns of good works and approval by the culture and traditionalism and trendiness. Resolve to know Jesus Christ. Fix your eyes on Him. Press toward that goal. Live in His Word. Walk with Him. Other things will begin to align when we do that. If you are really looking to Jesus, you’ll have a life that begins to look more and more like His, a life characterized by joyful sacrifice.

 

One Response to “The Key to Joy”

  1. creatorworship July 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

    I too experience joy too rarely. A deep breathe, a slow release of air, and a thought of how I have peace with God; a God appointed conversation with a stranger about Him; a realization of a spiritual truth; or an unexpected observation of creation beauty or normally unnoticed detail bring me sparks of joy sometimes in midst of stress or hurt or bewilderment. I would like to sense His presence in a more constant realization of joy without forfeiting the sparks. The means of grace (aka spiritual disciplines) you mention are good, but I have to be cautious not to make them into another ‘to do’ list. So I’ve decided to ask for it (joy, that is). I will focus on Him and on His grace and I’ll wait.

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