Far too many people carry misconceptions about what life with Jesus is like. Far too many have been seduced into thinking: 

It is either Jesus or joy.

Take your pick. Make your decision. It’s follow Jesus and forsake your joy, or follow joy and forsake Jesus. You can hear this misconception creep out in commonly accepted language like: “God isn’t worried about your happiness, but your holiness.” Is this really the way the Scriptures frame the concerns of God? That phrase contains some truth, but there’s more wrong in it than right. It obscures more of the heart of God than it illuminates. It has a way of falsely reaffirming the myth that it’s either Jesus or joy, either holiness or happiness. It makes Jesus the enemy of joy rather than the source of it. The Scriptures present something altogether different.  

It’s not Jesus or joy, it’s Jesus as your joy.

It’s not happiness or holiness, but ultimate happiness in our holiness. Life with Jesus will cost you many things, but joy isn’t one of them. Joy is crucial to the Christian life. Listen to the Psalmist express his enjoyment of God. 

Psalm 16:11, You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

That is not a command, but a declaration of truth. The Psalmist turns us toward joy’s location, and with that declaration, there is also an invitation. 

PLEASE, COME AND GET YOUR JOY. 

In Ecclesiastes 3 the Scriptures say that God put “eternity into our hearts.” God made us with longings too deep for temporal things to satisfy! God created our souls with an ache, a hunger, a thirst, and that ache makes human beings joy hunters, pleasure pursuers, satisfaction seekers. We are a joy-motivated people, and contrary to how many think, the Bible isn’t against our joy! If anything, the Scriptures rebuke us for being half-hearted in our pursuit of it. As C.S. Lewis famously said, 

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." 

The Bible invites us to come and get our joy, but it doesn’t ask us to seek it blindly.  

PLEASE, COME AND GET YOUR JOY IN JESUS! 

The Scriptures present Jesus as a person, a person to be enjoyed. Do you think of God that way? All of God’s good gifts (food, kids, marriage, intimacy, etc) are appetizers of joy, pointing us to Jesus, the main course. 

Psalm 16:11, 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 34:8, Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 

John 6:35, Jesus said…“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 

God, the happiest of all beings in the universe, invites us to share in his boundless joy. The human problem isn’t our passion for joy, but the paths we take to get it. As John Calvin said, “While all men seek after happiness, scarcely one in a hundred looks for it from God.” We really are “half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us.”

THE WAY OF JESUS ENJOYMENT

There are many ways to enjoy in the person of Jesus, but all of those ways are built on the foundation of Bible reading and Bible praying. Reading the Bible and praying the Bible are like two load bearing beams, supporting our joy in Jesus. In Psalm 19:7, The psalmist reminds us that “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.” God has given us the Bible, this precious means of grace, to keep our hearts happy in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 remind us to “Rejoice always”. That command is immediately followed by another that supports it, “pray without ceasing.” When we open up the Bible with the intent of pouring out our hearts to Jesus, our hearts are refreshed. Listen to George Mueller encourage us, 

"We have, through the goodness of the Lord, been permitted to enter upon another year, and the minds of many among us will no doubt be occupied with plans for the future and the various fears of our work and service for the Lord. If our lives are spared, we shall be engaged in those: the welfare of our families, the prosperity of our business, our work and service for Christ may be considered the most important matters to be attended to; but according to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord….I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true service is joy in God... But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How shall we obtain such an all-sufficient, soul-satisfying portion in Him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, this happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures."

Stonegate, let’s enjoy Jesus together. 

 

Further Resources:
    - The Dangerous Duty of Delight, John Piper
    - A Disciple Enjoys Jesus Sermon, Jimmy Needham

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