What steals your joy?
Seriously stop and consider that question, because it has more significance than you may realize. There seems to be a correlation between our experience of joy and what we value.
If we place a high value on wealth, power, or even likes on Instagram, then we will feel the absence of joy when our expectations are not met in these areas. Even in good things like family, work, and relationships we can experience the robbing of our joy when others seem to have the “perfect everything” while we have to deal with the “less than ideal.”
It’s this comparison game that I believe is robbing so many of their joy. After all, we can see countless, perfect lives on social media whenever we want. Also, it’s not the godly who seem to be joyfully thriving on those platforms as much as those who are either apathetic or hostile towards the things of God.
The envy of the wicked is not a new thing. Asaph in Psalm 73 pens his battle with this reality. He writes, “I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” He then goes on to describe their healthy bodies, their increased riches, and the ease at which they enjoy life even as they curse God and hurt others. After considering their prosperity he writes, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.”
Asaph’s joy had been so destroyed by seeing others prosper that he began to question whether walking in holiness before the Lord was worth it. In other words, he appears to have lost sight of God’s promises and began to value the things of this world more than he did the God he served.
Fortunately, Asaph did not stay in that place of joylessness. He writes how he went into the sanctuary of God and the Lord changed his perspective. Not only did he see what would ultimately happen to those who rejected God but he also came to understand how unbelievably blessed he was to know God.
In one of my favorite passages of all time, Asaph writes in Psalm 73:22-26:
I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
After gaining understanding in the presence of God, Asaph confessed his ignorance and began rejoicing in the truth of his relationship with the Lord. He found unshakable joy as he moved from seeing great value in this world to seeing ultimate value in God who is his strength and portion for eternity.
This is why the word of God is crucial to our joy. Without it’s power to illuminate our hearts and minds to the eternal promises of God, we will forever fall into a pit of covetousness and despair.
If your joy has been stolen, consider Psalm 73 and the path of Asaph. Enter the presence of God by meditating on the truths of scripture, the glories of Christ, and the promises of a Savior who seeks to be your strength and portion now and into eternity.
Pastor Mike Crump
PASTOR OF CHURCH COMMUNICATIONS
Mike joined the HBC staff in 2015 and is passionate about exalting Christ through any medium available, whether online or in person. He also enjoys cooking, hiking with his family, and playing 90’s video games.