Day 2: The Joy of the Lord is My Strength (Jesus = Joy)
If you want the emptiness that you have filled once and for all, if you want joy that flows from within you, then first and foremost, you must:
MAKE JESUS THE PRIORITY OF YOUR LIFE.
You and I were made to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Max Lucado asks, "If you were to take a fish out of the ocean and place it on the beach, you would watch its scales dry up as it gasped for breath. Is that fish full of joy? Absolutely not. How would you give that fish joy?
If you covered the fish with a mountain of cash, would that make the fish joyful? How about a beach chair, sunglasses, or maybe a good book; would that do it? No. How about a new wardrobe, would that satisfy?
Only one thing will restore joy back to that fish. You have to put him in the water. That fish can never have joy on the beach because that fish was not made for the beach. It was made for the ocean.
In the same way, we were made to have a relationship with God, and we will be like a fish out of water—never knowing the true source of eternal joy—until we find it in Him. We will never be satisfied with the things of this world because we were not made for this world."
I have to ask you a very serious question. Are you pursuing God with as much passion and energy as you have been pursuing the stuff of this world?
There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians who are so joyless because they are still pursuing all this other stuff and not pursuing God. If that describes your life today, then my prayer for you is that today would be your wake-up call.
My prayer is that today would be the day where you would say, "I am going pursue Jesus more than comfort." That today would be the day where you would say, "I am going to pursue Jesus more than riches and fame. I'm going to pursue Jesus more, much more than anything else."
The second thing you have to do if you want joy in your life is to focus on the eternal and stop worrying about all the stuff that won't matter ten years from now.
Do you know what I have found to be true? Life doesn't always turn out the way we had hoped that it would. Jesus didn't come to give us happiness that is based on what happens in our life. Jesus came to give us a joy that is independent of our circumstances. You see, because of Jesus, we can still have joy, even in the midst of the storms of life, because we know that God is going to work this out for our good and for His glory.
A funeral home director had to go tell a man in his eighties that his son had just died of a heart attack. He said, "this father was alert and a Godly man, but we hated to tell him that his son had just died. We did it as gently as possible, but as soon as he heard the news, tears welled up in his eyes. He turned towards his window and looked out. After a moment, he spoke. The first thing he said was, 'Won't his mother be glad to see him.'"
When you have that kind of faith, nothing can take away your joy.
The stuff of this world is here today and gone tomorrow. Don't let your joy rest on temporary things. Focus on what you can't lose rather than on what you can.
Every moment your heart beats is a reason for joy. Every hug we get from a loved one, every encouraging word we receive and give is a reason for joy. Let's not take a single moment for granted.
Are you empty today? What are you pursuing? The number one song over the past 50 years, according to VH1, is by a band that should have given up touring 25 years ago. It's the Rolling Stones, with "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." "But I tried, and I tried, and I tried oh I tried."Are you tired of trying? Jesus is the only one who can satisfy your soul. Why don't you start pursuing Him?
1. What are you really pursuing in this life? The stuff that is here today and gone tomorrow, or the One who lasts forever?
2. Here is a great test that will help you keep life in perspective. I call it the will I care or remember test.
We allow so many things that just don't matter rob us of our joy. Don't let that happen to you.
3. Try the test out yourself and make up a couple of questions about will you care or remember.
Every moment your heart beats is a reason for joy. Every hug we get from a loved one, every encouraging word we receive and give is a reason for joy. Let's not take a single moment for granted TODAY!
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