The Key to Joy

“Be joyful always; pray continually;” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NIV)

Where do we find joy? Where do we find peace? It is a universal desire that humanity yearns to posses; that we may find these things inGoogle+Photo abundance in our lives. Philosophers throughout human history have sought to find the key to obtaining that unshakable joy and calm which we all seek. Some say it is through living the moral life, others through the accumulation of wealth and the pursuit of pleasure. Still others claim that lasting human happiness can be achieved through the creation of a harmonious society where all live in equality and unity. The reality however, is that societies rise and fall, wealth and pleasure are fleeting, and living a truly moral life is seemingly impossible; all because of the fallen state of ourselves and the world around us.

We were created for one purpose alone, to live in relationship with God. In His eternity, man’s hope was secure, and in His goodness man’s joy was complete. However, because of our sinful nature, we are separated from God and with that separation our eternal joy and peace is lost. Yet it is in God’s plan to mend this broken relationship we have with Him. He sees that sin has only wrought misery and insecurity upon our souls and wants to restore our hope and bliss. When we accept Christ’s redemptive sacrifice for us and allow Him to dwell within our hearts, we not only have a restored relationship with Him, but our relationship with Him is direct and personal. Being in relationship with Christ is the key to true happiness and peace. As He enables us to live according to His righteousness we are free from the degrading control of sin. When we invest in that relationship through prayer and allowing His Word to permeate our minds, we will find that in Him we are made complete and that nothing can take away the hope we have through Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Richly Living In Christ

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” -Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

It is easy for us to fall into the trap of dead habit. How often do we find ourselves simply going through the motions of the Christian life and Google+Photoministry? To subscribe to ritual is appealing because it does not require us to think and be challenged. All it asks of us is to simply do what we have always done and this rote obedience to habit gives us a false sense of satisfaction that we have fulfilled our obligations. But such an approach to the Christian life is empty. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we notice that something is missing. Our prayers feel monotonous. Our minds feel numbed to the Scripture. Our worship feels dry, and our work for Christ seems to be disconnected from ourselves.

Paul is imploring the Colossian church to “…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” We may have the word of Christ in our hearts, but it is another thing to allow it to mold us and shape our minds. The Christian life is not a passive one. It is an active relationship with Christ whereby we allow His Spirit to refine us and draw us closer to Himself. The only thing that is preventing us from living abundantly in Christ is our own attitudes and our desire to cling onto our obedience to ritual. Are we bowing down before the idol of ritualistic duty instead of directing our worship to Christ? When we allow Christ to conform our attitudes to Himself and seek to be made One in Him, our entire lives will take on a whole new character. Our prayers will be vibrant. Our minds will be receptive to the truths it contains. Our worship will edify and strengthen us, and our work for Christ will be effective and transformative both for ourselves and for others. When we seek Christ and allow His Spirit to work within us, we will experience the joys of living in tune with Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Worthwhile Investment

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” -Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)

None of us would waste money on that which is of no benefit to us. We have been taught to conserve our energy and resources for something that is worthwhile and in our best interests in the long run. Whether it is what we eat or the career path we choose to take, we want to be wise in our decisions and make the right choice so that we may live healthy lives and that nothing be done in vain. But though we desire this, we often fall short of them. How often do we frivolously spend our time, money, and energy on that which is corrupt and depraved? How often do we worry and lose sleep obsessing over our careers and plans. Though we think that these will give us satisfaction, they only provide an illusory contentment that will give way to grief and misery.

There is only one way through which we can find true and lasting satisfaction. Man was designed for a relationship with God so that we may dwell in His eternal and unfailing love. However, because of our sinful nature gained as a result of Adam’s disobedience against God, the relationship we formerly shared with Him has been severed. But God does not wish for it to be like this. For this reason He sent Jesus so that through His death and resurrection we may have the hope of being freed from our sin so that we may enter into a relationship with God and bear witness to His goodness. When we allow Christ’s Spirit to enter our hearts and carry out His work of restoration in our lives, we will find joy and peace that nothing on this Earth can match. Investing all that we have by surrendering ourselves to Him, we will find it more than worthwhile as Christ fulfils His perfect will for our lives. He will prove to us His love and faithfulness and by His Spirit give us a lasting satisfaction that will remain constant regardless of our circumstances.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.