Since we've been spending the last month talking about what's missing in our lives and suffering, in this world, our lives, and of Jesus Christ, I want to kind of switch the tone and discuss the frequently asked question by non-believers of, "Why are Christians always so joyful and happy?!" (What is it? What do they have that I don't?)
Today's topic is Enjoying God; how, when, why and all other aspects of the subject. In previous weeks, we've talked about fulfillment and peace God offers by way of opening our eyes to seeing what our purpose of creation is..... so this begs the question, WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE?!?
We have two purposes bestowed upon us by the Creator:
- To be a living testament and supremely display the glory of the grace of God in all his excellencies.
- Being a living testament is not merely talking the talk, but it is walking the walk; it is waking up each day and choosing to submit to God and allow others to look at your life and see a reflection of Christ. When you think of the word display, the most pure and simplest form is when you're a kid and you have all your trophies in a display case at home and when people come over, what do you do?! You point everyone to the display case of your glory, you tell people, "look at what I've got, check this out!" And so God wants us to display his grace in the same manner; he wants us to point everyone that we come in contact with to the cross and the glory of God.
2. To be joyful and delight in the Lord with all our heart. He wants us to be joyous in him!
- Despite what people think, God is for us and not against us! He actually wants us to live a joyful life; the key is, he wants us to be joyful in him. He doesn't want us to find joy and delight in worldly things like relationships, alcohol, drugs, or anything secular from the Lord because there is no true joy in such things. He wants to protect us and give us true joy as you'll see later in the message.
Often people think these two purposes ordained by God are two separate ways of life. People think that they want a life of joy, they want to be happy, but how can we do that and live a life of service dedicated to glorifying God's grace at the same time. People think that there is no joy in living life to the service of God.
These two purposes are not separate roads travelled at all, but one in the same in which the two paths directly correlate. Enjoying God emphatically is one way to glorify him, clearly showing us the direct correlation between the two. Realize that the word emphatically in the prior sentence is not used in vain; God calls us to live a life of joy in him emphatically so that when others look at our lives, they can't help but notice there's something different. Furthermore, enjoying God and delighting in him makes him appear infinitely valuable, causing others to wonder what it is that you have in life that they're missing. The word infinitely tells us that God's value, glory, grace, joy and everything in him is perpetual; never ending, forever, in eternal abundance. It's like this example guys, check this out:
- God uses us enjoying his grace to magnify his glory; it's like using a telescope. You use a telescope to magnify something in outer space that is great, magnificent, and intricate that the naked eye cannot see without help; you cannot see the true glory of things in outer space such as the Milky Way for what they really are without a telescope. We are used by God as telescopes for non-believers to get a glimpse, just a taste, at the joy God's grace gives us, in turn glorifying his own self.
It is through this that we see our two purposes in this world begin to merge together to become a singular passion of delighting in the Lord to glorify the grace of God. Notice the conjunctive word is not and, but to; if "and" is used in that place, it still implies that the two roads can remain separate, but the word "to" implies that the second purpose is used to achieve the first purpose, drawing them together into one path travelled.
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."This is King David singing his praises to God saying, "God, you make known to me my purpose in life (you give me a reason for being created), in your presence I am completely full of joy, and at your right hand are pleasures forever." So this message is essentially tracking what David says here; God reveals to us our purpose in this world, he gives us true joy, and (here's that theme idea of God and his spoils being perpetual again) at your right hand there is joy and pleasures eternally.
People so often think there is little to no joy in a life as a Christian dedicated to singing God's praises and putting the fullness of his grace on display. Ohhh how they are so blind and confused!!! Delighting in the Lord's grace and sharing it with the world is the maximum joy one can possibly obtain in this world.
- Think of how full of joy you are when anything good in your life happens; what do you want to do? Tell your friends so they can share in the joy and see what you've got!! You point them to your trophy case with your glory on display. This is a self-centered joy that perishes along with the self-righteous glory that comes with it. It's much the same when the Lord comes into you; you simply want to share what you've got and put it on display. You make God's grace your trophies in your display case and point everyone you know to him. This is the selfless joy that is perpetual along with the glory that is of God. (There's that idea of God being perpetual again!)
This is an example of delighting in the Lord and it walking hand-in-hand with glorifying the grace of God, keenly showing us that joy is the surest sign of the presence of God.
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
- Here's that idea again of God wanting us to delight in him, and he will give us everything that our heart desires in an eternal fashion. The catch here that non-believers can't really understand is that once the Lord is in us and we are a new creation, our desires of our heart are changed and become new as well; our desires our only with God and that is where our joy is found.
The definition of joy is written as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.
- I promise this is not a definition I formulated around what I've been teaching in previous weeks, so I hope you get as excited as I did at how perfectly this merges with the previous meetings.
If you remember, we talked a month ago about what we find satisfaction in and what truly satisfies our deepest need. God is ultimately satisfying to us, therefore we gain ultimate joy. This means that if we find joy from what satisfies our heart, and God is what satisfies the deepest need of our hearts, then he also brings us true and magnificent joy in life. When we look for joy in the things of this world (money, drugs, relationships), we might feel a false and immediate joy that soon subsides and we're left with quite the opposite of what we're actually looking for.
- Antonyms to joy- misery, unhappiness, sorrow, grief.
Trying to find joy in worldly things actually ends up giving us quite the opposite; it brings us misery, grief, unhappiness and sorrow. Transversely, however, when we find joy in God and our purpose of displaying his grace, we land in an abyss of never-ending joy that will not perish or subside. We are satisfied. But, even when you do try to find joy in the things of this world, hold on to the promise of in Nehemiah 8:10 where it says:
"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
- Even when you dessert him, God will still be there waiting to give you true joy, which comes with an offer of strength to get you through your screw-up.
Joy that stems from God can take many forms. Sometimes it shows through hearty laughter or leaping and dancing before the Lord. Other times joy comes through a feeling of peace and well-being. Even in the darkest of times, joy comes in the knowledge that the One greater than all else can comfort us until the clouds have passed.
- The mark, or evidence, of God-enthralled joy is the overflowing of it into the hearts and lives of others. This is the idea that when you truly have God's joy in your heart and have become a new creation, you become so full of it that you have no choice but for it to overflow out of your heart and through your actions and words into the lives and hearts of others.
So as you finish reading this and continue through your week, I want you to challenge yourself with these questions:
- Is there joy in my life?
- If so, what form does it take?
- (Here's the hard-hitter!) If I have joy, how have I been sharing it with others?