Someone spoke to me recently about a lack of joy in their Christian experience.
A lack of joy. Hmmm…
I wondered. Why a lack of joy? Well, why an abundance of Joy?
I thought of Psalm 144.15:
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!
How much that verse contains. How easy it is to rattle off, but how deep are the implications of God as your Lord. And what a key to unlocking joy it contains!
I thought of some Christians I’ve known, whose entire life has been a struggle over lordship–His or theirs. Their life is never completely submitted, and the usual questions they’re asking are, “Do I have to? How far can I go?” How much they miss!
If God is not your Lord, your life will never be all it was intended to be. Only the way that He has ordained can bring a fulfillment of peace, joy, and destiny.
If God is not your Lord, then you will never know Him as the Shepherd who leads you. You’ll never know the green pastures, the still waters, the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
If God is not your Lord, then you will never look at Him openly, unashamedly, with a sense of shared pleasure. Your eyes will be averted, knowing you’re not doing what He’s asked, knowing His eyes hold tears and brokenness. Your heart will grow weary of resisting, and hardened to the sense of flowing life we’re meant to have.
Yes, the Kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace, and Joy, but it’s not a take it or leave it sort of thing. There is no 30-day trial, free of charge. We can have joy, but first, He must have our life. As long as there exists a power struggle in our hearts, there will be a lack of joy. God will not be a loving Father in our eyes when we are resisting, command after command. He will not be the constant source of joy we hear talked about when our hearts are a constant source of rebellion. We want to live as though the verse simply said, “Happy are the people whose official religion if Christianity”–but this is not an official sort of thing; it’s personal.
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever,”
but first he said,
“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. . . I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. THEREFORE my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely… –psalm 16
Joy, blessing, happiness, a river of life–all available to those who bow their knees and their hearts, and make their life a daily confession of the lordship of Jesus Christ.