Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Joy in Jesus. Jesus Alone.

If I don't find my  joy in Jesus, I will forever fall short of joy in everything else. 

When Jesus prayed for his men (John 17) one of the things he prayed fervently is for them to have the full measure of joy. Have you ever stopped to wonder about this? What does a full measure of joy look like? And why does Jesus want his guys-- and us for that matter-- to have it?

So much of our worldview brings with it the impression that our joy can be found in many things the world has to offer. Even seemingly innocent things, things that can truly be counted as good for us. For example, who hasn't desired to find satisfaction and joy in their career? That we should be so blessed as to find a job that is a joy to work at seems like a gift. Indeed, it is. But if I count on my job or my hobbies, even my family to be my primary source of joy, I will always fall short.

I have been impressed with the knowledge that just as true satisfaction can only come through a life centered in Christ, so it is with joy. Experiencing fullness of joy requires making Christ the center, the focus of all.

That said, what about when life hands you lemons?

The same prayer where Jesus prayed for fullness of joy for his men says even when the world hates them.

 Verse after verse in the Bible encourages-- no-- commands us-- to give thanks, to be thankful, to rejoice even, when trouble comes our way. Is it in the tragedies and struggles of life that we become convinced that joy just isn't in the cards for us? Yet Jesus told the disciples "in this world you will have trouble. But take heart, for I have overcome the world!" (John 16.33)

Walking with Jesus has taught me that joy is mine for the taking whether in good times or bad, because my joy comes from Jesus. If joy eludes me it is because I have not set my eyes on Jesus and looked to Him for complete and utter fulfillment. When my joy comes from Him only then will I find true satisfaction and joy in all the other areas of my life.

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