More Joy

Published on Aug 27th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
More Joy

More Joy

Who wouldn’t want more joy?  It is like asking me if I would like more chocolate cake.  Or, asking our dogs if they want a treat.  Have you ever really seen a dog, at least one who speaks English, turn down a treat?  “Here Fluffy, want a treat?”  “No, I’m good.  Ate a little too much Purina for breakfast.”  Now a cat might turn you down but never a dog.  So when we see the opportunity for more joy…we grab it.  Listen to Psalm 4:6, 7 ESV, “There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good?  Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’  You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”   When David wrote this he was comparing his life to the life of others.  Other folks were complaining that no one was showing them any good.  Life was not going well for them.  They wanted God to look upon them and bless their life.  David hints at why they had that attitude. He says that what makes them happy is when the harvest comes in and they have plenty. When their bellies are full and the cupboards are overflowing…then there is joy.  But David found his joy elsewhere.  He found that his source of joy was God himself.  His joy was not based on outward circumstances but was based on an inner gift that God gave him.  God put joy in his heart.  You might think that was easy for David to say because he was king.  He had everything he ever wanted.  But read the beginning of the Psalm.  David was going through a very difficult time.  He was being slandered and lied about.  He was burdened for his people. Yet, even during this time, David realized the gift of joy that God had laid upon his heart.

These verses caused me to wonder about my heart.  The Spirit of God began to convict me about how much my joy was based upon my circumstances and not the gift of joy that God gave me when he sent the Holy Spirit to live in my heart.  The fruit of the Spirit includes joy.  I have joy.  But what about more joy?  Have you ever known God to do anything that was not way above and beyond all that we could ask or think?  Just think about creation…the number of different colors, and flowers, and animals, and insects etc.  It is way over the top.  Think of his grace.  Way over the top.  His mercy is unbelievable.  God didn’t just love the world…he so loved the world.  Everything that God does is abundant and extravagant.  So when he chooses to give us joy…it has to be joy that is way over the top.  So if I want more joy in my life then I must first realize that I have way more joy than I need.  He has laid it upon my heart just like he did with David.  I am full of joy.  Second, I must then get my eyes off of that which I believe will bring joy but never really fulfills what it promises.  Seeing an abundant harvest may bring temporary joy but it is not too long until I begin to worry about the next harvest.  It is not too long until the cupboards seem to be getting emptier and emptier.  It is then that I must learn to place my eyes on him who is the source of all joy.  One of the best ways to allow the joy inside of you to flourish is to think of the extravagant beauty and gifts of God.  It is not just that God has forgiven you…he has forgiven you much.  It is not that God speaks the truth…he is truth.  It is impossible for God to lie so therefore all that he has told me must come to pass. I have found that more joy is revealed to me when I look back at the faithfulness of God’s provision instead of simply rejoicing in the provision he has given me today.  I can then look to the future with great confidence in a God who always provides.  His word is his voice to me every day.  I hear from the Creator of the universe every day.  How can that not fill you with joy?

The other day I got caught in a local town’s trap.  As I was driving through town I was pulled over, along with five other cars, due to my failure, and theirs, to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  I was the first car at a light and apparently when the light turned green, they began to enter the crosswalk and I never saw them.  I am guilty.  I must go to court.  I will have to pay the fine and may receive points on my driver’s license.  I have already been solicited by eight lawyers looking to help me in court.  This is going to cost me a lot of money.   It made me angry.  I was not full of joy.  I was on my way to visit someone in the hospital and I was serving Jesus…the abundant joy of Jesus was not filling my heart that day.  Why?  My eyes were fixed elsewhere.  My heart was turned away from him and toward the seemingly unfair situation.  What amazed me about my angry heart was that I was wrong.  Even if I didn’t see the person (or undercover policeman) it was my responsibility to see him.  I was, and am, guilty and yet I still feel justified in my anger.  To be honest, I am messed up.  Why should I feel angry when I was wrong?  If I was speaking to you, why would you feel as if you could help me justify my anger?  I was wrong and yet I am ready to blame others.  I am messed up.  And yet, God still loves me and desires to call me his child.  He has still promised me eternal life and he can never lie.  He has even covered my sin that takes me so long to recognize.  I would never love me as much as he loves me.  There it is again…joy.  It is a great thing.

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