I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You have planned for us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears You have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require. Then I said, "Here I am, I have come - it is written about me in the scroll. I take joy in doing Your will, O my God; for Your instructions are written on my heart.” (Psalm 40:1-8)
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Do you remember making the first joke that broke the ice leading to a now deep and meaningful friendship?
Do you remember moving your fingers further and further off of your seat in the theater only to feel the electricity of intertwining them in your first crush’s hand?
Do you remember receiving your first real compliment about your amazing performance in that dance recital…that basketball game…that one “thing” that has now become your passion?
What do all of these firsts have in common? Moments like these fill you with joy. We all know that there’s no joy quite like the joy of experiencing something good for the first time.
That’s just the problem though, isn’t it? The firsts represent the best, and it’s all “downhill” from there. These feelings are fleeting, temporary, and short-lived.
I know many people (and have been one myself) that live for these moments. They try much harder to bring back the feelings of the first joke, the first spark of romance, the first affirmation.
It doesn’t work. It’s never quite the same.
We often try to live a life founded upon these firsts. Yet, we know that we have something - Someone - to base our lives upon. He never changes. He never fails. He will always be the same as when you first came to know Him.
It can always be said that He will turn to us, lift us out of our failures, and set us on a rock. And it only gets better as we discover more and more about Him.
“Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols.”
This world has nothing that will last forever. However, when we trust in the Lord and allow ourselves to be filled with His everlasting joy, we will continually have a “rock” to set our feet upon.
When trials come (and they will!), we can praise God and have a steadfast joy. When sorrow tries to overtake us, we can choose to be filled with God’s love. We can choose joy.
True joy is not a symptom of happy experiences, but it is the choice to find meaning, identity, and strength in our Lord. Our lives will then reflect His will and His nature. In all the choices we make, we can find joy in carrying out His desires and spreading His love.
I long for the day that I can truthfully and authentically say: “I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart.”
Choose joy this week. Whatever it looks like in your personal, daily schedule, find meaning in the overall purpose of identifying yourself in the Lord.
Thank you for joining us today. We pray that you learn to choose the joy of the Lord today.
Guest writer, Steve Sullivant
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