>I’m treating myself to Starbucks on this lovely spring break morning. My car is over at the shop getting new tires, new oil and new wiper blades, so I’ll be here for a little while. I did bring things to study, but unlike my life three or four years ago, it has nothing to do with conventional college classes, tests or projects.
And it’s refreshing. (My college “experience” was very stressful for me; I have no desire to relive it, unless of course I’m living on the Mediterranean in Spain and soaking in the sun whilst studying Spanish literature.)
I still consider myself a student, but one of the Word of God. There is so much to learn; the studies that can be done about the Bible are positively endless. How can we ever get to the bottom of it? I could study it my whole life and still not have a complete understanding.
Now, to get to the title of my post. I study the Word of God to 1) learn more about Him, 2) understand His will in many tough situations by studying the lives of His followers and 3) learn what I can do to have the “inexpressible and glorious joy” throughout my life (I Pet. 1:8)… see the following.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your soul.”
Peter purports (I love that word; it sounds like purple, but it’s not) that we can be filled with joy just by the realization that we are saved. In our lives, the defining moment or elaborated experience (mine was the latter) of salvation seems like such a small part of the story of our lives.
The fact that we are saved gives joy to sustain us. And everything else is gravy, right?
We get sucked into this Babylon’s (America’s) mindset that we will be happy when…
As we know, happiness cannot be equated to joy, although it can be a direct result of joy. Joy cannot be derived from happiness, as the feeling is fleeting.
Here is my list of “I will be happy when…”
- I will be happy when Aaron and I are together again.
- I will be happy when I become a mother.
- I will be happy when my children accept Jesus.
- I will be happy when we finally buy a house.
- I will be happy when we can scream “We’re debt free!!!!” on Dave Ramsey’s show.
- I will be happy when I have more defined ab muscles (seriously)
- I will be happy when I have a new coffee maker.
- I will be happy when I’m sitting on the Mediterranean, studying Spanish lit, and enjoying a drink with a little umbrella in the warm summer sun, speaking perfect Spanish to passersby……..or not.
- I will be happy when my hair is longer.
- I will be happy when the warm weather is here to stay.
- I will be happy when school is over for the summer.
- I will be happy when all relationships in my life are repaired and restored.
- I will be happy when all the people I love accept Jesus.
What a slippery, muddy slope of false pretenses. It seems silly to focus on things that really could not make us happy (like my hair being longer… silly, right??) but we do. We compare ourselves with others and envy them their body, hair, marriage, house, coffee maker (a Cuisinart Grind and Brew would be awesome). We chase these things that are so fleeting. They evaporate before our eyes. What happens if only a few of those things come to pass? Then where would I be?
Well, the devil would like to convince me that “See? God really doesn’t want you to be happy. He hasn’t done anything for you.” To which I would boldly reply…
- God has blessed me with an incredible, wonderful, amazing, sexy, loving husband. (Have I mentioned that my husband is incredibly attractive?!)
- God has blessed me with another family with parents, brothers, and sisters.
- God has blessed me with my immediate family.
- God has blessed me with an amazing best friend.
- God has blessed me with the ability to run.
- God has delivered me from depression.
- God has sustained our marriage throughout some hard times already!
- God has protected me throughout my life (specifically the forming years of adolescence) from harmful experiences.
- I really do love what I see in the mirror every morning.
- God has blessed our finances.
- God sent His Son to die for my sins because He loves me!
And the list goes on and on. We have to remember what God’s already done in our lives in order to keep the momentum of the joy of our salvation.
and we are filled with joy.
The Hebrew word for joy is sameach. It means “joyful, merry, glad, showing joy, those who rejoice.”
There was a really cute family with three adorable children when I first got to Starbucks. At the first twinge of envy, I remember that someday the Lord will bless us with children and we will be a cute family with adorable kids. Our children will love Jesus and we will raise them in a loving, warm, accepting environment. We will set a great example of a man and woman who love each other the way Christ loves the Church.
And really… once you think about all the promises that lay ahead in your life, how can you not be filled with joy for all that He has done, is doing and that is to come?