Today, I found the following quote in the writings of an old Puritan saint, “Remember, O my soul, it is your duty and privilege to rejoice in God. Rejoice in the Giver and His goodness, be happy in Him, O my heart, and in nothing but God, for in whatever a man trusts, from that he expects happiness. He who is the Author and Finisher of your faith should be the substance of your joy. This joy is promised by the Father, bestowed by the Son, and infused in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Have you sought joys in creature comforts? Do not look at that which is below God for true joy and happiness. Let God be all in all to you, and find in Him the fountain of joy that is always full.”
In the upper room on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus spoke the following to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Here, Jesus speaks of His joy and our joy. Jesus walked in the fullness of joy because He walked in obedience to the “these things” that the Father had spoken to Him. In turn, He tells us that if we will seek Him first above all things and walk in obedience to His teachings, we will not only know fullness of joy but the very joy that filled His heart. This isn’t any bargain basement, fleeting joy that we seek to find in the world around us, this is joy that has its source in God Himself.
One line from the Puritan writer that stirred my heart was, “…for in whatever a man trusts, from that he expects happiness.” Ouch! Those words are like an arrow through my heart. All too often, I have placed great expectations in the things that surround me, people, material goods, attainments, etc. Have you not ever placed great expectations in these things, fanaticizing in advance about the joy and happiness that they you knew they were going to bring, only to be disappointed in what it was they delivered?
God has made all of these things to enhance our lives and give us enjoyment, but when we seek these things as the source of joy, they will always disappoint. Jesus, said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Samson sought his delight in Delilah, and was soon seduced by her many charms, to the place that he forgot his duty before God and fell asleep in her lap. The result? A haircut that changed everything (Judges 16). When we chase the joy that we believe can be found in creature comforts, we too are in danger of falling asleep in Delilah’s lap.
True joy and ultimate pleasure have one source, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).
Of this joy we used to sing, “I’ve got something that the world can’t give and the world can’t take it away!”