Joyous Christians 24/7A Chapter by Ethan Paz
This was written in November of 2009. I forget what it's about but I know it's good.
Joyous Christians 24/7
Ps 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Happiness has been frantically searched for among the world. It is not hard to find something that talks about “The Seven Keys to Happiness” or “How to Make Your Life Complete. The sad thing is unbelievers are searching for true happiness but are miserably failing. And to make matters worse, quite a few Christians are in the same group. If only people knew what joy was and how you can get it for free, the world would forever be changed. For this joy makes them an entirely new person. As you read this book, I pray that your eyes will be enlightened to see the wonderful truths we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Everyone knows what happiness is. Happiness is a feeling. Little children are happy when they get a brand new toy, teenagers are happy when they have friends, and adults are happy when they receive a raise. Happiness is good feelings resulting from an event or occurrence which is sensed by our brain like tasting and seeing. Happiness is never satisfied. A person searching for happiness has to thrive on it like eating food consistently. For example, remember that _________ you got? Well, there is an updated version and it is way better than the that old thing. So you go out buy the updated version and once again, you are happy. What just happened? Your happiness was satisfied based upon what you craved and that craving is never satisfied.
Joy, however, is entirely different. Joy is not happiness for joy lasts longer. Jesus Christ stated it quite well in John 16:21,
“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.”
Joy out-shines happiness for joy can never be replaced by the object it values. Pain though great never out-shines joy. Joy is long-lasting, indescribable, immeasurable, and is sought for by everyone. Joy is desired so much that the line separating joy and happiness has been lost. You will see the drug addict snorting methamphetamine to get a high, a millionaire in a frantic panic trying to earn just one more dollar, and you will see the glutton trying to eat only one more cheese burger. All is done in the name of happiness but it really is not satisfying.
One might say, “The millionaire is only searching to get richer and the glutton only to fill his stomach out of pleasure. So how can you say, “All is done in the name of happiness . . .” when this is not the case?” I can say that for being rich is an action which results from a previous cause. Actions are not self-existent; they stem elsewhere and take root at that place. Let me explain it this way, as to how did the millionaire receive the desire to get richer? The answer is obvious, because the money felt good. Now the word feel is a sense triggered by the brain and in this case it triggers happiness. The same is true for the glutton.
Joy is a deeper state of delight than happiness. But only the one who accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior can have true joy. The unbeliever does not know true joy nor can he ever experience joy unless he comes to Christ (refer to Appendix A on how to get saved) This joy that believers experience comes from the Lord. Nehemiah says, “ . . . The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) True Christian joy totally leans on Christ, for Christ is his Rock, his Peace, his Savior, and his Redeemer. The joyful Christian’s source of happiness, you could say, is delighting in Christ in what He has done for us, in what He is doing for us, and what He will be doing for us. This joy has already been established upon a Cornerstone in which only us believers have.
King Solomon perfectly illustrates his search for true joy. Ecclesiastes shows his struggle in finding joy. We know this for Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. (Ecclesiastes 1:1; 1:12; 7:27; 12:8-10) Solomon was searching for joy by striving after wisdom, pleasure, being drunk with wine, great works of construction, wealth, and work. (1:13; 2:1; 2:3; 2:4; 2:7-8; 2:18) Solomon did all he could to attain joy. “And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10) The results are quite clear; he says it is vanity. “ . . . For all is vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17) But the most important thing Solomon noticed was this: “ . . . Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
One thing that is peculiar about us humans is we never learn of history and take grasp of its truths. The unbeliever and the carnal minded are both stuck together with an insatiable desire to satisfy all their desires in search for joy. but the conquest has and will never end. King Solomon wanted more, Balaam with his desire for wealth and honor wanted more, the rich fool storing much crop also wanted more, Hamaan and his desire for glory wanted more. We Christians have more of a duty for the pursuit of joy than the non-believer. We have no reason to fail this duty. Romans 15:4 clearly explains,
“Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope.”
Fortunately, the Bible outlines how we can live the Christian life which is the only way to get joy. Verses such as Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” But Christ also said in the New Testament in Matthew 22:37, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Moreover, the scripture says in Hebrews 11:16, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
I know I am sounding legalistic but all is possible by Christ. The Christian life is built on Christ as the Cornerstone. (Eph. 2:20) Paul said it very well in 1 Corinthians 3:11-14,
“ For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw"each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”
We have Christ as our foundation but on that we build our house. And in that house are the fruits of the spirit, godly attributes, godly character, our actions, our responses, and our thoughts. This book is detailed in a way to show you the essential pieces for the house besides the main piece and that being Christ.
The Christian life consists of three main ideas: fear, love, and faith. Faith is very important, for faith is what saves us and faith is what continues to sanctify us. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “So than faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” This is called saving faith. Romans 5:1 also has a say in saving faith, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Sanctifying faith is also mentioned in the scripture. James 2:17 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Without faith, it is impossible to live the Christian life (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Fear is another important idea we need in the Christian life. Fear has two meanings in the Bible. One is what us humans experience when we are afraid of someone or something. The other is a holy reverence to God for who He is. If fear was evident in every Christian life, there would be no sin but that is not the case. In “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards, he clearly explains in a dreadful format that God has the power to cast a sinner into hell immediately. Nothing can stop God. No one can ask God, “Why do you do this?” He does what He wishes in His sovereign plan. As the author of Hebrews says, “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)
If you serve God only in fear than there is something wrong because you also need love. Without a relationship you will always have rebellion. We ought to love Christ with our lives as he freely gave up His life. John said in 1 John 4:18,
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
We do not acquire the spirit of fear for we are Christ’s. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We are not afraid of God rather we revere Him. We ought to love God for it is commanded in many passages of Scripture and our duty is always delighting in God. Song of Solomon is a good book to illustrate the kind of love we should have to God and Hosea is a good book to show God’s love towards us. The Christian life is built on Christ and the pieces thereon are built of affections and attributes concerning Him. As a husband would do anything for his wife, so should we all do anything to glorify God out of love.
If we have Christ as our Cornerstone and are building godly pieces onto the house than why is the Christian life so hard to live? It is because we are stained with sin and we simply just do not want to serve God because of pride and this is what this book talks about. Paul explains the problem very well in Romans 7:15-20,
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
The sin that is so deeply in stained within our nature is the core of the problem. But by God’s grace we are free from sin as Romans 6:1-3 says,
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
Knowing this “let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) By God’s grace we can stand and we can fight the devil and be victorious. As Fanny Crosby famous hymn says, “. . . Faith is the victory! O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.”
Everyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ is a complete failure for the pursuit of joy. The believer, however, has no excuse. He has already accepted God’s saving grace (grace needed for salvation) but now the question is: is he walking in sustaining grace (grace needed for the process of sanctification)? I find it useful to ask questions to evaluate myself and to actually take those actions into consideration. For instance, am I walking in God’s grace? Am I being conscious of God? Am I taking a nugget of God’s truth and meditating on it? When was the last time I prayed? Do I seek to be entertained rather than to be with God? Do I delight in God’s Word? The believer only fails in his pursuit of joy when his eyes are taken off God and are turned into adultery with the world. Drink love, desire fear, and pray for faith.
If you are not accepting what I have spoken thus far, you might as well put down this book. These are the practical, essential requirements to be at peace with God and to have the Spirit with you. This is how joy is attained but to lose it immediately is being a poor steward as to what God has given you. There must be a change. Whether you are old or young, a student or a scholar, the Bible applies to all. Wake up and change! As James said,
“But be doers of the word, and not hears only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”
It is not good enough to just look at the Bible and say, “Yes, you are right” or “I will.” You must be broken and change. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance. . . .” David said in Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” So turn and come to God and He will come and give you success. Apply what is needed for your life and you will be like the tree planted besides the waters. (Psalms 1)
The Christian life is a life full of joy. When you are right with God and dwell in His grace, you have joy. It is only natural to have joy when you are a Christian. How? Because that is one of the promises Jesus gives to us in His Word. John 15:11 says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” We rely on God to give us joy. He is our joy-giver. Thus, should we not pray to God to give us joy? Like David says in Psalms 85:6, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” Likewise, Jesus says in John 16:24, “ . . . Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Since we run on joy, it should be natural only to pray but we do not. I guarantee that if you pray to God each and every day for joy, you will be a more joyful person. Basically, joy comes by living on God’s grace and searching Him out for true fellowship. God is our source of joy. In Him the true Christian delights for He is the apple of his eye. It is only natural for the Christian to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8) and to delight in all of God’s commandments. (Psalms 19:7-9)
I say this all, for it matters what a foundation you stand on. If you stand on firm ground you won’t be swayed. Do you recall Matthew 7:24-27?
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
By God’s grace you shall stand if you are a Christian. Only by Christ shall you stand. 1 Corinthians 3:11 says, “ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Look below your feet (life) is hell-bent or are you truly standing on heavenly-ground?
The believer has joy but only he can choose to be joyful. Consequences do not prevent you from being joyful. Do not trick yourself into that. If you put your mind into doing something, you truly can do it. For example, look at Peter. He said in John 13:37, “Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Peter was a loyal disciple but he was backslidden when he denied the Lord three times. This is proven because Jesus found Peter fishing again in John 21:3. The significance is Peter was a disciple but now he turned to his former way of life: fishing. You can choose to be joyful but being joyful is possible by loving God and loving God is only possible because He first loved us (1 John 4:10)
You must decide who you will serve. The believer shall stand but the wicked will eventually fall. Do not be like Israel who were jumping over to both sides of the picket fence. God just wants obedience. In a most frightening passage which I recommend you read (Isaiah 1:10-20), God basically says, “I am tired of you attempting to please me, stop doing evil and come do good. Come to me and I shall set you free from sin. But if you do not listen, I will destroy you.” God does not want a lukewarm people. Just look what God has to say about this in Revelation 3:16,
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
He wants a people burning for Him. He wants people to draw near Him. As James said in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Where do you stand? Can you say as Joshua did in Joshua 24:15 “ . . .As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” If so, I welcome you to “The Pursuit of Joy.”
© 2010 Ethan Paz
Added on April 18, 2010
Last Updated on August 23, 2010
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