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Sustaining Joy

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making sure your heart is not divided
(NKJV)
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
If you’re Christian, the steering gives you soaring delight in Christ. His beauty and greatness on your soul.
But quite a few believers struggled to experience joy. Why is that?
Some people by nature tend to be sad, enjoy is an ongoing challenge. If you read Martin Lloyd Jones classic spiritual depression, you will be surprised that he mentions a temperament or personality as the “first and foremost calls.” He might be right!
But there are other reasons. People are often surprised how tired they are-sleepless and exhausted-and they wrestled to find joy. If you’re grieving or suffering, you may not realize God has specific joys for you in your present circumstances. And don’t forget that our enemy hates us and will still every ounce of joy that he can.
But the most miserable Christians I’ve ever seen are ones with a foot in both worlds. They hedged their bets. They have an island heaven and one are. They call the name of Christ, but they’re still trying to find security, satisfaction, pleasure or fulfillment from the world. Their writing the fence and they are not happy.
Is that you? The only way to have joy is to say a full “yes” to God. Which means saying “no” to the world.

The great yes

It is important that every Christian be convinced that God is good and what’s more-God alone is good.
It where not absolutely convinced that God alone is good, we will not be able to say “no” to other gods that promise joy but deliver sorrow. We don’t dare imagine there is even a sliver of good apart from God and his will for our lives. Not a shred.
The Psalms drive this truth home.
I say to the Lord, “you’re my Lord; I’m no good apart from you ().
And again,
whom I have I in heaven but you and there’s nothing on earth that I desire besides you ().
And again I cry to you, oh Lord; I say, “you are… My portion in the land of the living” ()
In the New Testament James writes,
do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights. ()
God is good. God alone is good. And all good comes from God.
Best of all, God gives us himself. And he is our joy-the unspeakable glorious the light of our hearts. David says,
In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right-hand pleasures for evermore ().

The great no

The essence of sin is looking for God outside of God and his will. This is the mistake Eve made in ; (the mistake Adam made was looking for what he had in God in Eve.)
We stumbled the same way they did: dig beneath the surface of our life and the sin contained in it we find that we are trying to get something good apart from God and his ways. That good thing might be pleasure, security, significance, syndication, justice, belonging, comfort or some physically, and so on but I try to get it without God.
In the end it’s idolatry. I’m looking for something other than God to meet my needs and satisfy my desires. These God’s promise joy but they deliver misery.
That’s why halfhearted Christians cannot have ongoing joy in Christ. David says,
The sorrow those who run after another God shall multiply. ()
and again,
for my life is spent was sorrow, and my years with sighing I strength fails because of my iniquity. ()
We run after other gods to find joy but we find sorrow:
A young woman knows that she should marry a non-Christian, but she thinks she’ll find love and security in a relationship, even though God is not in it. She wants something good, but she’s looking to another God to provide it, and bear her sorrows will multiply.
A man thinks you’ll find fulfillment in not of the world hooking up after work. Sexual pleasures good thing in God’s will. This man is looking to another God to give it to, these brief seconds of pleasure will turn into gravel and ashes in.
A woman looks for significance to gossip. She feels important when she talks about other people and what they do. She is not fighting home worth in Christ. She’s running after another God for her since about.
An unforgiving man holds a grudge. He thinks it’s his responsibility to make the right. Justice is a good thing, but is not looking to “the judge of all the earth” to give it to (). He is running after another God.
So, choose today whom you will serve (). Look to God and his will for every good gift in your life. Say with the psalmist “the Lord is my portion and my cup” ().
Halfhearted Christians are not happy Christians. Open God, don’t run after other gods that is the path of joy.
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