Have you ever just sat and marveled at all of the things God has given us? I know I am guilty of forgetting to do this far too often. It is so much easier to see the things that aren’t going right. The things I wanted, but haven’t received yet. The debt that isn’t paid off yet. The relationships that are strained. The list goes on and on. But I notice that as soon as I shift my focus to all of those areas, I become angry inside. I lose the joy that I am called to have in the bible.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are we truly allowing God to fill us with all joy and peace? Or are we trying to fill ourselves with things of this world? This question really struck me as I dwelled on it this morning. What is it that I choose to be filled with?
And am I truly able to be an effective minister of Christ’s love if I’m not being filled with His joy and peace?
Anyone else feel the gut check on that last question!? I’ll be the first to raise my hand on that! It hit me like a ton of bricks!
I have spent a good bit of time recently reflecting back on my journals from this past year. And I can see the journey of God trying to fill me with His joy, while I keep trying to fill myself instead.
It wasn’t until I reached a place of full surrender that God brought me joy beyond my wildest dreams. So often in life we are faced with a choice. Perhaps we are at a crossroads in life, deciding which way to go. That was me earlier this year. My first reaction was to run. To run away from anything that seemed hard. To try and avoid the pain of the path that lay ahead. (Like that ever works, right?) I battled back and forth for a short while as I decided what my next steps would be. But I quickly made the choice to surrender my own hopes and dreams and let God be the author of the rest of my days. I mean, clearly I hadn’t been doing as very good job up to this point or I wouldn’t have been at such as crossroads. Am I right? But it still wasn’t easy. It felt unnatural. It was exactly the opposite of what so many were telling me to do. But I knew I had to listen to the ONLY voice that mattered.
And He never fails me!!! I had to walk through some challenges, and I know my future is full of many many more! But the joy I feel now is unlike anything else this world could have ever brought me!
Did you know the Lord loves to give you the desires of your heart? Psalm 37:4 says Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
I love how it tells us to DELIGHT ourselves in the Lord. Merriam-Webster defines delight like this… a high degree of gratification or pleasure : joy. I have also seen it defined “to please greatly”.
Isn’t that amazing! God doesn’t ask us to jump through hoops. He just asks for us to please Him; to take great pleasure in Him. And how can we not!? He is our creator! He designed us to delight in Him. If it weren’t for sin trying to separate us, it wouldn’t even be something that we think about. We would just naturally delight in everything He does! And when we delight in Him, our hearts align with His. We want His will for our lives even more than our own! Those are the desires of the heart that God just loves granting!
But I also believe there are times God will give us the desires of our heart, even when they aren’t aligned with Him. Sometimes we need that wake up call. Sometimes, He has to show us first hand that this thing we so badly desired, isn’t all it was cracked up to be. It’s part of how He draws us to Him.
When you are surrendered to Christ and living in a state of delighting Him, it is so easy to see His hand at work all around. Does it mean that you will be joyful every single moment for the rest of your life? No. We are all human. Does it mean you will never experience another hard moment in your life? No. Of course not. This world is a broken place and pain is unavoidable. But we are here to make the best of it until we are called home. And part of making the best of it, is to help others to do the same.
So today, let’s all choose JOY! Let’s choose to let our hearts delight in the Lord! And let’s choose to see the blessings that are all around us today!