Why is it that absolute joy always seems to be just out of reach? There is often in my life temporal joy, but the pure, unencumbered joy is always looming in the distance. I can see it… but I never quite reach it.
As I continued my reading in the book of 2nd Kings this morning I happened upon the history of King Jehu and perhaps the answer to that question.
2 Kings 10
28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 29 Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan. 30 And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. 32 In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel;
Israel came up short. They missed out on the full blessing of God because Jehu, although he got rid of Baal worship, continued on with some prettier sins.
It’s the little things in life that prevent the big joy. The things on the lower shelves of life that are readily available and a distraction from our walk with Christ, but we never remove them. I’ll start with the easiest thing to prevent us from having pure joy:
The Jews created 613 laws out of the 10 commandments. It was proven in the first generation of God’s people that we couldn’t keep one rule, (not to eat of the tree of life) and to add 612 more to the equation gave many more reasons to feel like a failure. So the wonderful Savior we have devised a plan to replace the law with grace. But we (or I) keep law on the shelf as a reminder that I’m a failure. I discard grace pretty often by reminding myself of past failures, as if the blood of Jesus Christ wasn’t enough. That thought just made my stomach roll over.
“Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you handle it!”
What a great truth. I don’t’ know who said it but they were spot on. How is that Paul said from prison in Philippians 1:4 “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” He could pray for those who were “living the life” with joy, even though he was in the worst of circumstances and he could do so because he had the right attitude. Much of my joyless days are created by the attitude that began them with.
Oh… I could preach to myself on this one. Both spiritually and physically. Many, many, many of my issues arise because of my appetite. Those things that I desire that are not necessarily wrong, but are wrong for me. That delightfully pink cupcake on my counter is oh so tasty, but the waistline it creates is less than lovely, and yet I let my appetite rule. Let me put this one on for size… rather than reading the word of God when I get up in the morning, I press the home button on my iPhone to read the gospel according to social media, and then wonder why I’m not feeling all spiritual inside. It’s because I just digested somebody else’s heartache, anger, disgust, or perhaps it was a cute puppy pic, but it still took my mind away from the pure joy of the word of God.
You’ll note that lie is italicized in the center. I more often than not believe the lie of Satan that joy is unobtainable. I’ll never be good enough. (the law) I’ll never be in the 10%, (the attitude), I need what I see (the appetite) I’m an what Satan says I am (the belief)
Although I went from the bottom shelf up, our problem in life is from the top down. BAAL. Jehu got rid of the big sin, but he kept the little sins in his life. And caused Israel to fall short. Wow, is there some truth in that for my life. What about you?
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