Recently I have been lacking joy. I am not going to lie; the last few days have been very trying on my heart, soul, and mind. Literally, I have never felt this mentally and spiritually exhausted. Not only have I been fighting temptations, but at the same time I have been dealing with a tremendous and overwhelming hardship in my own family. I have not met with our Bible study group this week and have just felt like staying in bed. I feel that society thinks that Christians are supposed to always be happy and full of joy. Is this possible? I’m not sure. I want to be careful in saying “No” just because I have experienced this brief time of sorrow and absence of joy. I am a young and growing Christ-follower that is learning every day. It may be possible to not be completely drained of joy because there was something missing from my life this week. I had many conversations with my fiance to try to ease my mind. I must say, she gives wise counsel and great comfort that I too often take for granted. Her love for me has sustained me this week and she has been the only one I have turned to. However, I was still lacking joy. It was more like a brief filling that faded when I wasn’t with her. Sitting in my room at night, I couldn’t keep my mind off of the suffering that I am going through. Pity began to overtake me even into this morning. Even as I read my daily devotion I still felt empty. Again, it was a brief filling from the wise words of John Piper. I felt a great spiritual high from his wisdom and meditation over Scripture yet it wasn’t enough. However, just yesterday as I was updating my daily prayer focus for the upcoming Secret Church event and praying for these people who are suffering, my eyes were opened. I try every day to identify with them and genuinely and earnestly pray for them. In doing so today, I noticed that as I realized I was in a time of suffering just as they are, I began to think about what I pray for. For these suffering individuals I pray that God would soften their hearts to receive the truth of the Gospel and that there would be open doors for Christ-followers to take the gospel to them. I have a tremendous desire to spread the glory of God to all nations so that they would savor His supremacy and praise Him as their ultimate treasure for their imminent joy. I found the solution to my own problems in my own prayers! The solution to my lack of joy, obviously, is my lack of devotion and proclamation of His gospel and glory. The lack of Bible study meant a lack of studying. My lack of studying led to a lack of reading. My lack of reading led to a lack of prayer and worship. My lack of prayer and worship led to a lack of joy! I must trust in my Savior King Jesus Christ to sustain my joy on a daily basis. After this “epiphany” I quickly grabbed my Bible and opened it. The result was monumental for me. Sitting in this quiet dorm room alone with the humming of a fan in the background, I flipped through the pages of this brown leather ESV Bible. The reverence for the way, truth, and life that is in this Word immediately filled me with joy and I am now sitting here with a smile on my face and my Bible open. Reading for joy, that is what I must get back to. I immediately confessed this sin of ignoring my God and treating Him like He doesn’t exist by questioning whether He could sustain my joy. I confessed this sin of turning to others before turning to Him. I trusted in myself over trusting in Him. I prayed for forgiveness. Immediately, I felt a tremendous and overwhelming filling of joy. Just hearing the flipping of these pages as I turned through this Holy Word gave me great joy. The reading of God’s Word and the truths therein lifted my spirit even more. The Holy Spirit which lives inside me needed replenished. I had dried Him out by not reading, praying, and worshipping. Because of this, I was empty and unsatisfied. Truly, because I have returned to His Word and presence today, I have been fully satisfied while I yearn for the day when I bask in His presence forever. I have found it to be true today that God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him because it truly demonstrates His worth and supremacy. His goodness is ever-satisfying and sustains my joy. My soul was thirsting for His Word and presence and I was keeping myself from this. How could I possibly have joy with the combination of the suffering I am experiencing and the self-induced famine from the truth and life in the Word? It is impossible ti have lasting and proper joy apart from God.
If you are in pursuit of joy and satisfaction in this world, you will never find anything or anyone that will fully sustain a lasting joy in you. Only in the Word of God through the person of Jesus Christ and the revealing of the Holy Spirit of God will you discover this kind of pure and lasting joy that will never fail you when you seek it. Seek this joy in Jesus Christ and you will find it. You will find it in good and bad seasons in your life. Open up your Bible and enter into the presence of the one true Holy God. You may have been neglecting Him. He will gladly receive you. Submit to His Lordship and be filled with true and lasting joy by seeking God in His Word. Feed on His Word and you will be satisfied while He is glorified. Replinish your soul. When nothing else will sustain your joy, the truth of Jesus Christ will. Trust in Him today. Flip those pages and allow the truth that they hold permeate your soul and fill you completely with joy!
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” – John 6:35
By His Grace,