Is your joy shaky? Shallow? Stunted by your life circumstances? These are the questions I asked myself recently as I read a book by the late, great pastor Charles Spurgeon, "How to Have Real Joy." Great title isn't it! It's what everyone wants to know. People want to be happy. They want to know joy. They want to know how to get it and keep it. Spurgeon defines what the believer already has in his heart throughout the book. What's interesting to me is joy is not what you think it is. His thoughts about joy given by Jesus to the heart of a believer gives me so much to think about. I wanted to share one of his thoughts with you today. Have you ever thought about someone having shallow joy? Listen to how he describes shallow joy. I think you too will find it quite thought provoking.
"This joy of the LORD in our spirits springs from an assurance that our entire future, regardless of what may happen, is guaranteed by divine goodness. We are joyful when we know that, as children of God, the love of God toward us never changes. The believer feels complete satisfaction in leaving himself in the hands of eternal and unchangeable love. However happy I may be today, if I am in doubt about tomorrow, there is a worm in the root of my peace. Although the past may now be pleasant in retrospect, and the present satisfying and enjoyable, if the future looks gloomy and frightening, my joy is shallow."
(Source: How to Have Real Joy, Charles Spurgeon, pg.72-73, Whitaker House)This thought about shallow joy makes sense. God gives us His Joy. Because joy is a fruit of the Spirit, the way for it to grow is spending time with Jesus (John 15:1-11). But when we turn away from Jesus and let doubt come in and takeover out thoughts about our future, our joy is not growing. It is not deeply rooted in Jesus. It is deeply rooted in our circumstances. If I believe that God is over all things (Ephesians 1:22), is working for my good (Romans 8:28) and has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), I need not worry (Matthew 6:34). My joy is shallow when I turn my heart and mind away from believing God's Word. My joy is shallow when something happens and I think God is against me. When I think that nothing good will come out of a bad situation, my joy is shallow.
Dear sister, when the storms come and we find ourselves thinking this way, our joy IS shallow. It reveals our joy is not deeply rooted in the promises and truths of Christ but in our own control. It reveals that we have not been abiding in Christ like we should.
You have the joy of Jesus in your heart.
Grow the joy God gives you by spending time with Him and reading of His Word (John 15:10-11). When the storms of life come, the joy of the LORD will be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).