Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lessons on Joy

As a kid and teenager, when people had to use one word to describe me, it was joyful. I was truly happy most of the time - and always had a smile on my face. It wasn't hard for me. There was so much in the world to enjoy and experience. And finding joy in all of that was something that came easily to me. What a blessing from God!

And as I've gotten older and things in my life have gotten harder, the enemy has somehow taken hold of the one thing I always assumed would be in my life - joy. And I have let him.

And the funny thing is, God is teaching me about joy right now. He is teaching me about something I never thought I'd have to learn about since it always came so naturally to me. How naive was I to think that I had joy down? That I could check that off my list because I was a pro at joy? Ha!

The older and more experienced I get, the more I realize that there is always more to learn. God is HUGE, and I'm a fool to think that I could learn everything there is to know about even just one aspect of Him. He is way bigger than that. And so I have to accept that I will never understand everything. And as the circumstances in my life change, I will have more and more opportunities to learn how to be more like Him. While it's hard to accept, it's also saying a great deal about who my God is.

So here I am, learning about joy. And the one huge thing that God has been trying to get through to me is: I am called to be joyful, but I can't produce joy myself. Only He can give joy. It is absolutely a gift. The enemy will always try to take that from me - to keep me from bringing glory to God - so I will always have to fight for it. I am called to fight for it. And fight, I will.

John Piper explains it much better: "We must delight in God. And only God can change our hearts so that we delight in God. We are thrown back on God utterly. The Christian life is all of grace. 'From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever' (Rom. 11:36)."

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