Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Joy is Our Treasure

Can the world see your joy?

Psalm 4:6-7
“Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.
You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.”

Christians should always stand out from the world. When you compare the lives of a Christian to that of a non-believer, you should be able to see a difference. Through Christ, a Christian should show the fruit of the Spirit and live in a way that non-Christians can’t quite understand. We should live in exceeding joy.
This is quite different from the rest of the world, because lets face it, there is very little joy in the world. Failing economy, lose/lose elections, intolerance, war, truth decay, and over-population rule this age and with it; fear, anger, hate, suffering; this is the path to the dark side. But, Christians should be able to see these circumstances and move past them. We are not living for the here and now, but for the coming and soon to be.
As Christians, we should be living in joy. What is joy? We need to realize that joy is beyond temporary feelings. Joy is not just happy or excited, everyone experiences that. No, joy is the ability to look ahead and to see what is coming beyond the present. It’s the ability to face trial and know that we still have hope.
But where does joy come from? I believe that joy comes from two things in particular. I believe that joy comes from truth and love. But let’s face it; the world has distorted these two things severely. So let’s look at what truth and love mean to the world and to Christians.
What is truth? Truth is reality and certainty. But that’s not how the world sees it. For the world, reality is how you make it and truth is inconsistent. This is a world where everything is relative and there are no absolute truths. Promises are made to be broken, rules are made to be disobeyed, and your truth is good for you but not for me. Truth is like your favorite shirt that your girlfriend hates; she may know it’s a terrible shirt but you know that it’s awesome.
So if the is how the world sees truth, how does the world see love? For the world, love is all you need, but you can never get. Look at how the world handles it. Marriage is supposed to be the example of how Christ loved the church, yet the divorce rate is 50% and it’s the same stat for Christians! Is this the love we show each other and teach our children? And when we can’t find love in people we try to find it in things. We buy and buy, we eat and eat, and we want and want just to fill in a hole and to find something we can love.
There is a lack of honest joy in the world and even pop culture exemplifies this. One band I particular enjoy, though their lyrics get a little to melancholy, is the band “The Postal Service”. But one song always catches my attention; “Clark Gable”. In the song, the singer is retelling how he tried to win the heart of his old girlfriend by filming an old-style film. In the chorus though, he makes this statement.

“I want so badly to believe
That there is truth and love is real.”

Is this an overstatement or a real representation of how the world feels?
If this is how the world sees truth and love, how do Christians see it? Or at least, how should we see it?
Christians need to find there truth in God and his promises. Psalm 105:8 reads,

“He remembers his covenant forever,
The word he commanded, for a thousand generations.”

And Paul in writing Titus 1:2 also says,

“A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.”

So, Christian truth needs to come from God and his promises. What about Christian love? 1 John 4:7-8 (though you should read the whole chapter) says it best,

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

God’s love is perfect and infallible and what we should always strive to achieve. We will never get there in this life, but someday we will be able to experience this love first hand and stand in the glory of it. This is where we should get our joy.
It seems too often that Christians forget about the truth and love of the Gospel and of our relationship with the Lord. We can so easily fall into the despair of the mucky-muck and lose sight of the future. But the future is the very thing we should never loose focus on. Through the promises and love of God, we have hope, and with hope we have joy. A Christians joy should be a defining element in his or hers life. Our joy makes the world stop and scratch its head. Joy will keep us going through this dark world and joy will remind us of our bright future. Psalm 30:11-12 reads,

“You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”