It’s been about 8 years since I fully gave my life to Christ.
Though a short period, I can testify to the slow yet subtle growth God has shown me throughout this walk.
One thing I constantly struggle with is bringing to remembrance the indescribable expressions of joy I experienced during my first year of conversion.
There was one moment I can truly never forget.
It was 2011 and I was on my way home from school.
Let me rephrase that.
I was RUSHING home from school, simply with the intention to spend some quality quiet time with God.
Busted through the front door….
To my delight there was no one home.
Without hesitation I made my way to the piano, leaving my school bag and jacket at the front entrance.
I spent hours on the piano that night.
Playing and singing..yes..
SINGING, every worship/ hymn/ praise/ church song I knew.
To those of you who don’t know me..believe me when I say I tried to come up with an analogy appropriate enough to describe the quality of my voice.
For lack of better words, I can’t sing lool.
But I SANG LOUD that night, while ugly crying the whole time like I was watching the final minutes of the Pursuit of Happyness.
I’m convinced my neighbours were concerned because it was that loud.
I was a mess.
Yet I was so lost in the joy of Christ that nothing else truly mattered at that moment.
Now, I understand that growing in faith as a Christian has its ups and downs. I knew I wasn’t going to always experience this magnitude of joy on a consistent basis.
However, it’s tragic how far I’ve gone from it.
Not sure if many of you can relate, but I had almost grouped everything and anything that had to do with Christianity in its own category.
Allow me to elaborate.
I made efforts to defeat sin because –> I knew God hated sin
I prayed and read the Bible because –> it was the “Christian thing” to do
I went to church regularly because –> I needed to pay my dues and serve God in His house.
Now these statements aren’t entirely wrong but I failed to remember the joy I once knew in Christ. I should rather be motivated to repent, pray, read the word and go to church BECAUSE of the joy there is knowing Christ.
Unfortunately, Christianity was slowly becoming a chore of mine, rather than a delight.
One of my favourite quotes by John Piper says;
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”
It’s good to reflect on these thoughts from time to time, especially when God WANTS you to delight in Him.
David the Psalmist says it like this:
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 ESV
In God’s presence, there is fullness of joy.
Rest on that for a moment.
Simply put, there is nothing outside of God that will ever truly satisfy us.
Let’s do a little mental exercise.
I want you to think of something that brings you joy.
Better yet, think of the greatest thing that gives/ would give you the greatest level of delight.
It can be anything, good or bad.
- Eating some amazing food
- Having the greatest sex with 100’s of attractive men/ women with no strings attached
- Getting high
- Feeding multitudes of people
- Preaching the Gospel to 2 million people and having them all saved
- Getting married
- Becoming a billionaire
Thought of one yet?
The greatest lie I have ever known is believing any of these things to be more satisfying than knowing Jesus.
The FULLNESS of joy is in Him.
All of it.
Everything else is counterfeit.
Let’s look at another scenario.
FromLuke 10:1-19 Jesus appoints 72 people to declare the coming of God’s kingdom and to heal the sick.
The 72 then joyfully returned to Jesus with great reports.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
Luke 10:17 ESV
Despite their delight, Jesus made sure to remind them of something very crucical:
And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:18- 20
These 72 individuals didn’t do something evil.
They didn’t simply do something they thought was good.
They actually obeyed Christ and did something which was pleasant to Him.
Yet STILL, Jesus made sure to re-emphasize on where their true joy should lie!
Honestly this is what gets me lool
He reminds them that their names are written in heaven.
That one day, they will enjoy the full presence of God once He dwells with them in the New Earth (Revelation 21)
How many times have we waited for the success of a church, Bible Study ministry, blog, podcast, in order to rejoice.
We always have a reason to rejoice in Christ, regardless of outcome.
Let me hit you with two more examples.
You know that popular verse “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” was written by a man (Apostle Paul) who was imprisoned in jail ?
As a matter of fact, the entire book of Philippians was written by Apostle Paul WHILST he was in jail.
Ironically, this is one of the most (if not the most) joyful books in the Bible.
Look what He says here concerning the value of knowing Jesus:
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Phillipians 3:8 ESV
…the speak verse for itself
^ the verse speaks for itself* This post got me so lit my English can’t even keep up lol.
Hold up! I know this is long but I’m almost done!
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
You really can’t make these things up.
Moses wasn’t simply trying to show God how humble he was.
He genuinely found infinite value in God, so much so that the reproach of Christ looked more attractive than the treasures of Egypt.
There are so many more examples, but let me end off by saying this.
The answer to the question “How do I remain joyful?” is continuing to believe in Him.
Don’t allow the fleeting joys of life rob you of the one God wants you to experience.
In Jesus Christ
Soli Deo Gloria