All throughout the ages, the inner workings of the Christian life have been questioned. Motives have been put on trial, and Christians have been literally burned at the stake and beheaded for the beliefs they claim.
Everybody wants to know why. Many believe they have it all figured out. They “reason” that we Christians are simply afraid of death, and therefore in our sub-conscience has given ourselves some kind of spiritual “cop-out” to ease the pain.
They “reason” that morality is subjective; that though there is a Christ that we claim in order to necessitate morality and “good”, there are ultimately factors outside of God or any religion which could explain that.
The reality of it is that the rest of the world can certainly know what we know and experience what we experience, they just don’t want to believe it! Once you have met God, there is no doubt or denying His reality. It becomes “easy” to accept Him as Truth once you have met and experienced Him.
So what does this all have to do with joy? Well, I believe that to know God is to know joy. I believe that in the midst of chaos and calamity, knowing God brings a joy and a peace that is unexplainable, and frankly, quite amazing.
As I look at this verse in Psalms, I see 4 distinct reasons why it makes sense that we have a reason for our joy.
Psalm 145:18-19 – “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”
Reason #1: God is with the Christian
One of the most beautiful mysteries of the nature of God is His omnipresence. Even His name, Emmanuel, means “God with us.” His presence in our lives is woven into the very fabric of His existence, and therefore, when we are born again, into our existence. Everywhere we go He is with us. Whether in the pit or in the palace, He is with us.
It brings me joy to know that God sits with me everywhere I am, but at the same time, He is sitting with my wife and my little boys. I never have to worry that His attention on me is lessened due to His attention on them. When you realize that you are literally never alone, it changes things. It brings you “joy unspeakable and full of glory!” What a tragedy to live in a house full of people, and yet be alone. What an awful life to experience tragedy and chaos and not have anyone to walk through it with you.
When you know and experience His presence, you will know and experience Joy.
Reason #2: God Fulfills the Desires of the Christian
When a person comes to a heart knowledge of the truth and accepts Christ as their Savior, a transformation takes place in their person. In fact, it is a transformation into a new person. Along with this transformation comes a transplantation of hopes, dreams, wishes, goals, and desires.
Becoming a Christian does not automatically give you some spiritual funnel in which everything you have ever wanted you will now receive. Rather, God changes the things that are important to you into things that are conducive to His own perfect will. The Bible says that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts (see Ps. 37:4), but another element to that is that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us a new heart! Our desires change, and God is more than happy to give us the desires that line up with His will.
Before we move on, I must give you a personal example. I am a preacher. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever want to or think about being a preacher. I had no reasons or evidence in my life to lead me to that conclusion or to that desire. One day, I felt the Lord calling me HARD to preach. I had never experienced that sort of calling before. I resisted – in fact, I flat out told God no on many occasions because it just wasn’t something I wanted.
Fast forward to when I couldn’t take the pressure and anxiety it was putting on my life to keep telling Him no, and finally accepted the call. From that point until now, and I’m sure until the day I die, I have a desire to preach. It’s my favorite thing I do, and perhaps the thing I am most comfortable doing. Not only that, but I have grown a passion for writing over the years, which often accompanies the task of preaching. God did not only place a desire in my heart to do that which He has called me to, but He has found a way to take another desire that I have had all along and mesh it together with the one that was in His plan from the get-go.
Reason #3: God Hears the Cry of the Christian
What a privilege it is to carry everything to our God in prayer. This goes hand in hand with the first thought mentioned in verse 18 about His presence. Not only is He present, but His ears are perked up! They are attuned to the cry of His sheep, and if He must leave the 99, He will do it to come searching for me – every time.
So what does this look like? In my life, it was a good day when I finally figured out that God was interested in what I had going on. If you are in this state right now of believing that God is not interested in you, and could care less about the daily nuances of your life, I really hope the things I am getting ready to say will help to aid your perspective.
Let me give you some help. It stands to reason that what things are going to be held against you in judgment are things that matter to God, right? If He did not care, He would not bring them up. The Bible says that one day, you will give an account for every idle word that has ever been spoken. Well now, that sure is a sobering thought. Heres my point: stop believing that what is small to you is small to God.
Cry out to God for even the littlest of the things – He wants to lend a hand! He wants to jump in and save the day. After all, He is most certainly in the saving business!
Reason #4: God Saves the Christian
This is perhaps the greatest miracle of all, and most certainly, the very source of my joy. If you’re truly saved, it’s the source of your joy too. God’s ability, willingness, and power to save sinners like us is so unfathomable. Love that flows from the cross of Jesus Christ covers the multitude of our sins.
Here is what makes this so puzzling. God cannot save a sinner until he realizes that he is just that; a sinner! This is why those who are living in sin have no idea why we Christians are so “crazy” and eager for someone to save us; they have never realized their error! Once God breaks the heart of a man by showing him that the only hope he has in the world is to accept Jesus Christ, the answer is a no-brainer. Accept the gift!
Think about this. When was the last time you heard of a man in his teens through his early 20’s who had no stress or distress in his life getting saved? Does it happen? Sure! I’m sure it happens every day. But it is way more likely that you see little children getting saved and then much older, experienced adults getting saved. The reason is that children are not tainted by sin and actually have a much stronger faith ability (remember Santa Claus?) than adults do. On the flip side, an adult who has been beaten and battered by the storms of life is more apt to accept Christ because he has nowhere else to turn when life becomes too much to handle on his own.
The point is that whether you are 3, 13, 33, 73, or 103, accept Christ before it’s too late!
A life lived with Christ brings happiness and joy that no one else can know. I only wish that I was able to better articulate that to those in my life who I was unable to convince and have already gone on. Don’t wait any longer. If you can make an influence in the life of someone else for Christ, by all means, take each and every opportunity. God’s Word will not return void; that’s a promise!
Recommended Further Reading:
Questions? Feel free to comment below and start the discussion, or click the blue button on the right (desktop only) to ask a question with a voicemail. We will do our best to answer in an upcoming post. Thanks!