2008-03-01 - Joy in the Lord
Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
I am going to make a supposition, and while I don't know that it is true for everyone, I know it is true for me. We tend to delight in God more when things are going well, than when things seem to be going contrary to our hopes and desires. This is natural, but it can be instructive to us about ourselves. What are we really delighting in, when this is true? I submit that we are delighting or despairing in circumstances, rather than in the Lord. I am not sure if you have ever considered this, but I ask you: What is to be our delight? Our delight is to be in the Lord. How often do we delight or despair, based on temporal and passing things? Have you ever thought about this? When our joy is in the Lord Jesus Christ, our various situations become secondary. The Lord is ever to be our delight. When things go well, we praise the Lord for His kindness and mercy. When things seem to go hard with us (here it comes), we still praise the Lord for His kindness and mercy. This is a matter of Christian maturity, but may we all seek to grow up in all things into Christlikeness.
Christian: Your delight is in God. This is where all your joy flows. It is from the Lord. If we love the Lord, all His ways are pleasant to us. This is hard to believe, and even more difficult for us to live out when our world is crashing around us, but it is here that faith triumphs. It is when faith is tested, and we endure the trial or incident we felt we could never sustain, that the muscle of faith in Christ is shown. We do have struggles. We do have happiness. These, we all know by experience, are subject to great fluctuation. They are always secondary to the follower of Christ, because the disciple of Christ places his/her true underpinning in something greater than circumstances. The Christian grounds his/her experience through the telescope of God's person, experienced and known in Jesus Christ - Who is all goodness, and in Whom we have a vital interest. It is only with this mindset that we can glory in a prison or a cathedral, in sickness and in perfect health, under affliction and in times of relative ease. When we can delight in God, irrespective of our lot in life, we begin to love God as He is due - simply because of who He is. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" Philippians 4:4.
I would like to try to quickly illustrate this. When do you rejoice in the Lord the most? Many would say that they rejoice in the Lord most when things appear to be going well. I believe I feel this way also, but let me pose a consideration: When we consider things going well with us we (and I again place myself here) actually rejoice in the Lord least. It is when things go well, that we are most prone to be rejoicing in our circumstances, rather than rejoicing in the Lord. Only you can know your heart. I know this is true with myself. When things go as I would desire, it is far easier to take my eyes off Christ, and look to the circumstances instead of Christ. It is a deep consideration, but let us seek to apply it, and let us strive to secure our only delight in Christ and His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria,