Our desires, as legitimate as they seem, can be very deceitful. As Ravi Zacharias, the famed apologist once said: “The loneliest moment in life is when you thought your legitimate desires will deliver the ultimate and it has let you down.” Our desires can lead us to a fatal and terrifying emptiness. Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of money. On his dead bed he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.” Admittedly, one square look at the world will convince us that there is no ultimate satisfaction for human hearts. Our hearts are too big for anything else in the world. Our wants do not cease by massive accumulation of wealth. Or by fulfilling every lustful desires. If they did, the rich and the famous would have found their complete fulfillment and satisfaction. But an honest look at their lives reveal that this is not so.
G. K Chesterton (British journalist and writer) once said: “Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.” By “small publicity of the pagan” he meant ultimate joy is found neither in unbelief nor fame, pleasure, money, position or military power. Alexander the Great was said to have conquered almost the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept bitterly in his tent, because he saw no more worlds to conquer. Music and singing and art will help us live through some of the most difficult pain and suffering, but they do not have lasting effect. They cannot deliver ultimate joy. Where is true joy found then?
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his JOY he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” [Matthew 13:44].
There is a stark reality-contrast between the kingdom of self and the Kingdom of God. When we make ourselves the center of all our pursuits, the less fulfilled we are. We are men and women with weak, not too strong, desires. This should surprise us. We need to transpose our desires and stop settling for the lesser. C.S Lewis diagnosed our problem in this way:
“Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (C.S. Lewis- The Weight Of Glory).
We are far too easily pleased! How true! The kingdom of self leads us to more spiritual emptiness, while the Kingdom of God bring us true lasting joy. There is no other joy like it. Because there is no greater joy outside of knowing Christ. The man in the parable discovered a great treasure chest. The JOY that his new found treasure brought about could not be compared with what he currently possessed. The treasure was worth giving up and selling all that he had. What kind of treasure would that be?
What we treasure most in life is worth giving up everything else. Because we derive our greatest joy from what we treasure most. That treasure is Christ. And “we have this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4: 7).
The Bible is the book of joy. It’s a book of joy, because it testifies about Him (John 5: 39), the one in whom we find our deepest joy.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11)
“Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”- (Psalm 119: 111)
“The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” – (Psalm 19:8)
1. This joy that we speak of brings strength: “The joy of the Lord is our strength” [Nehemiah 8: 10]
2. This joy comes to us who believe and hope in God: ” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” [Romans 15:13].
3. Then it bears fruit for those who are in need around us: ” …the fruit of the Spirit is…joy” [Galatians 5:22 ].
4. It spills over in laboring for the joy of others: “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy” [ 2 Corinthians 1:24].
5. It bursts into shouts of praise: “Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright [Psalm 33:1].
6. The Word of God brings joy into our hearts as we drink deeply from it: “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” [Psalm 19:8].
7. He turns our momentary sorrows into joy with the dawn of a new day: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” [Psalm 30:5b].